Time running out for Alberts

Willem Alberts may well head back to South Africa if he fails to come through a fitness test later this week, reports JON CARDINELLI in Newcastle.

Alberts has battled with various injuries over the past two years. He was selected to start against Argentina in Buenos Aires last month, a match that marked his first Test since June 2014.

Alberts hasn’t played a minute of rugby since then. A calf injury precluded him from the Boks’ first two World Cup pool games against Japan and Samoa. His participation at training has been limited, and he is yet to be cleared for the coming match against Scotland.

On Sunday, team doctor Craig Roberts said that he would be monitoring Alberts’s progress over the next few days. If Alberts fails a fitness test this week, a decision will need to be made regarding his future participation in the tournament. Heyneke Meyer may well need to send Alberts home and bring in another loose forward from South Africa.

Jean de Villiers has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament due to a fractured jaw sustained in the recent clash against Samoa. Roberts confirmed that there are injury concerns following that brutal match. The good news is that none are particularly serious.

Roberts said there is a chance that Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel will be fit to play against Scotland this Saturday. De Allende sustained a minor medial ligament strain, while Kriel caught a boot in the face. Fortunately, that blow didn’t result in a fracture, otherwise Kriel may well have been heading back to South Africa with De Villiers.

The injury list also includes prop Jannie du Plessis (knee), Victor Matfield (hamstring) and Fourie du Preez (ribs). Roberts said that he is not too concerned about these injuries, and that all three may feature at St James' Park this Saturday.

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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