The Springboks have been dealt yet another injury blow with news that flanker Francois Louw has been ruled out of the rest of the Rugby Championship.
Louw was injured in the recent Test against the All Blacks in Wellington. It's now been confirmed that he pinched a nerve in his neck, and will not be available for the final two games of the tournament against Australia and New Zealand.
Bok team doctor Craig Roberts said that Louw would be sidelined for as many as eight weeks. It is hoped that the openside flanker will recover in time to join the Boks on their tour to Europe this November.
A decision on a replacement for Louw in the 30-man squad will be confirmed in the coming days. Schalk Burger was always expected to feature at the back end of the Rugby Championship, and his return from Japan will be a timely one given the recent loss of Louw.
Marcell Coetzee, who played No 7 on the recent tour to Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, will be the favourite to start at 6 in Louw's absence.
'This is another setback as we prepare to host Australia and New Zealand in two very important matches as Francois has been superb for us in the last couple of seasons,' said Bok coach Heyneke Meyer.
Other news on the injury front is that Ruan Pienaar will be out of action for approximately four to six weeks with a medial cruciate ligament injury. This was confirmed after he was sent for scans on Monday.
Louw and Pienaar join a long list of injured players. Frans Malherbe, Coenie Oosthuizen, Flip van der Merwe, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Willem Alberts, Arno Botha, Pierre Spies, Fourie du Preez and Jaque Fourie are all currently unavailable.
Furthermore, following an agreement between Saru and the provincial unions, Lwazi Mvovo has been released to play for the Sharks this Saturday. Mvovo will rejoin the Springbok squad in Cape Town on Sunday evening.
Due to injury concerns in other positions, Mvovo was the only player who was released this week. In the coming fortnight four players not in an identified enlarged match-day squad of 26 will be released on the Wednesday of both Test weeks after conclusion of the day’s activities to join their respective provinces for the Currie Cup.
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