It’s every player’s dream to play in a World Cup, but sometimes that dream is dashed by an unexpected piece of bad luck. JOHN GOLIATH identifies five unlucky Springboks.
The Lions flyer’s rise to the top has been nothing short of spectacular. From Varsity Cup to scoring a brace for the Springboks against the All Blacks, Dyantyi enjoyed a fantastic rookie season for the Boks in 2018 and won the World Rugby award for Breakthrough Player of the Year. But 2019 has been disappointing for the speedster. Dyantyi picked up a hamstring injury ahead of the Test against Australia at Ellis Park, which has messed up his World Cup plans. There was hope that he will recover in time, but it seems unlikely that the Eastern Cape-born wing is going to make the trip to Japan.
Whiteley captained the Boks to a series victory over France in 2017, before putting in one of the great No 8 performances in the Boks’ win over the All Blacks in Wellington a year later. Since then the 31-year-old Lions captain has suffered various injuries, reducing his time on the park to a minimum this year. Ultimately, it’s the knee injury he suffered in Super Rugby that is going to keep him out of the World Cup.
Coetzee’s road back to full fitness following career-threatening injuries has been nothing short of remarkable. In the space of three years the tough loose forward has gone from to contemplating retiring to gunning for a spot at the World Cup. He fought back with some brilliant performances in the PRO14 with Ulster to get a Bok call-up, but an ankle injury in last Saturday’s Test will keep him out of the World Cup. His ability to play in every position in the back row will be missed.
Over the last 15 months Springbok boss Rassie Erasmus has stated that he wants to groom Willemse as a backup to fullback Willie le Roux ahead of the World Cup. His versatility would also have made him the ultimate squad player in Japan, as he is a top flyhalf and a guy who has also featured at inside centre. However, Willemse suffered a knee injury in June and missed the rest of the Stormers’ Super Rugby campaign. He made his comeback off the bench in the Currie Cup last Saturday against Griquas and will start this weekend against the Free State Cheetahs. However, it’s unlikely that he will sneak into the 31-man squad at this late stage.
Oosthuizen must be one of the unluckiest rugby players in South Africa. A neck injury forced him to make the switch to tighthead, where he initially struggled after forging a career as a fantastic ball-carrying loosehead prop. But Oosthuizen arguably became the best No 3 in the country in 2017. He manhandled the French at home in the scrum, and also carried exceptionally well. However, a knee injury suffered on the end-of-year tour against Ireland a few months later had him sidelined for 10 months in 2018. He came back and won a Currie Cup with the Sharks, but had another stop-start season in 2019 which has left him out of the Bok reckoning.
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