Victor Matfield has been ruled out of the Springboks' opening Test of the Rugby Championship due to a knee cartilage injury.
Matfield was sent for scans on Tuesday morning after feeling some discomfort in his knee at training. He was seen by an orthopaedic specialist in Pretoria and will be unavailable for the Test against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld on 16 August.
'Victor’s injury will initially be treated conservatively and a decision on his further participation in the competition will be made during the course of next week,' said team doctor Craig Roberts. The Boks will, however, call up a replacement to the squad over the next few days.
The Bok medical team is still assessing captain Jean de Villiers, who has just returned from a serious knee injury. A call on the Bok skipper's availability will be made next week.
Meanwhile, Eben Etzebeth and Frans Malherbe have been released to play in the opening round of the Currie Cup Premier Division for Western Province. Both players are returning from long-term injuries and will be allowed some game time for WP to ease them back into the game.
Etzebeth’s last game was in November 2013, for the Springboks against France in Paris, where he picked up a foot injury. Malherbe has been out for more than three months with concussion.
'Following medical assessments and consultation between our medical team and those of the various provinces, it was decided to release Eben and Frans for this weekend,' said Bok coach Heyneke Meyer. 'Both have been out for extended periods of time, and the Springboks’ and Western Province’s medical teams decided that the best course of action would be for them to get some game time this weekend.'
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