Scrumhalf Francois Hougaard is battling a knee injury and may not be available for the Springboks’ Rugby Championship opener, reports JON CARDINELLI in Nelspruit.
Last week, Hougaard was called up as a replacement for Seabelo Senatla in the Springbok Sevens squad. He featured in the Olympic Games semi-final match against Great Britain, which South Africa lost 7-5.
On Sunday, Hougaard linked up with the Bok squad ahead of their Rugby Championship opener against Argentina in Nelspruit. Following a medical assessment, it’s been confirmed that Hougaard sustained a minor knee injury in that Olympic playoff, and will need to go for a scan to assess the damage.
‘The good news is that he’s walking around and running. It’s just a bit tight, though, and I want to know if it’s a niggle or a [serious] injury,’ said Bok coach Allister Coetzee.
‘We need to know if he will be available for the next match against Argentina. Once I have confirmation on that, I can decide whether I need to call another scrumhalf into the squad [aside from Hougaard, the Boks also have Faf de Klerk and Rudy Paige at their disposal].’
Meanwhile, Coetzee is also keeping an eye on the progress of Trevor Nyakane. Due to an ankle injury, the versatile prop won’t be considered for the match at the Mbombela Stadium. Nyakane may, however, be considered for the following fixture against Argentina in Salta.
Coetzee is expected to name a 26-man squad for the tour to Argentina later this week. The four players who fail to make the cut may be released to their Currie Cup sides, if Coetzee feels those specific players require game time.
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