Schalk Burger has shed light on the nature of Eben Etzebeth’s shoulder injury which he says will sideline the Springbok lock for “a couple of weeks”.
Having already lost hooker Malcolm Marx for the remainder of the tournament, the Boks are counting on Etzebeth to recover from injury in time for the big Pool B match against top-ranked Ireland in Paris on 23 September.
Etzebeth left the field in the 26th minute of the 18-3 victory over Scotland in Marseille on Sunday in both teams’ Pool B opener.
He was sent for scans, but the Springboks have yet to issue an official statement on the severity of his injury, other than Rassie Erasmus saying that he could be out for between seven and 10 days.
That alone would put him in a race against time to prove his fitness for the Ireland game, especially as the Bok prefer to select their team earlier in the week.
In a conversation with former Scotland lock Jim Hamilton for RugbyPass, Bok legend Burger shed a bit more light on Etzebeth.
“We haven’t got too much clarity on it, but from the quick little conversion I had, it’s an AC joint injury,” Burger said. “We hope he is back in a couple of weeks.”
Burger said that Etzebeth’s potential absence would be felt among the famed Bomb Squad, which has been crucial in the Erasmus-era.
“I tell you, it’s quite a big loss for us, because the Bomb Squad got born out of being able to use, in our view, the four best locks in the world.
“That was how it was formulated, let’s get the four best locks involved every weekend. We underestimate the work rate that [Etzebeth] has got. So it’s a big loss, also from a leadership perspective.”