Pienaar blow for Boks

Ruan Pienaar has been ruled out of the Springboks' end-of-year tour campaign and will be replaced by scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, reports JON CARDINELLI in Dublin.

As reported on Sunday, Pienaar was never going to be 100% ready for the clash against Ireland. The Boks hoped that Pienaar would be fit enough to feature in the second tour match against England, but after a medical assessment on Tuesday, it's evident that the 80-Test veteran will not be available.

Pienaar came through a battery of on-field tests on Monday, and the Bok medical team was optimistic that he would recover to play some part on this tour. However, further examination of Pienaar's injured knee on Tuesday has revealed some swelling, and he will not be considered for any of the Boks' matches this November.

'He is not yet ready to partake in full training and playing in a match,' said Bok team doctor Craig Roberts. 'He needs a few more weeks of rehabilitation before he’ll be ready to return to play and hence we’ve taken the decision to rule him out of the tour.'

Francois Hougaard will start against Ireland this Saturday while Cobus Reinach will play from the bench. The Boks do require further cover at scrumhalf, however, and this is why they have moved to call up Vermaak, who currently plays his club rugby for Toulouse in France.

'We’ll miss Ruan's experience, especially when it comes to playing rugby in the northern hemisphere, but luckily Jano knows our structures and should have no problem slotting back in,' said Bok coach Heyneke Meyer.

'The decision to bring in Jano was because he is familiar with our structures and is also very experienced, especially since Cobus Reinach is still in his first season of Test rugby. There are a number of good young scrumhalves in South Africa, but to bring someone in who has not yet trained with us in a pivotal position such as scrumhalf would’ve been a risk.'

Vermaak played in three Tests during 2013 but has yet to feature this year. He will join up with the squad in Dublin on Wednesday.

Photo: Scott Heavey/Getty Images

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Jon Cardinelli