Knee tear sidelines Du Preez

Date published: June 29 2015

Experienced scrum-half Fourie du Preez has handed the Springboks a setback with the news that he will be out for four to six weeks.

The veteran tore his medial cruciate ligament in his knee while training with his club side in Japan.

Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts on Monday said each of the injured players in the squad will be managed individually in terms of when they return to full training or playing in a match.

A squad of 48 players gathered in Johannesburg on Monday. Of these, 15 are suffering from a range of injuries or require rehabilitation.

Aside from Du Preez the injured players are Heinrich Brüssow (arm), Schalk Burger (groin), Lood de Jager (elbow), Jean de Villiers (knee), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee), Patrick Lambie (neck), Lionel Mapoe (knee), Cobus Reinach (hand), Jan Serfontein (hip and knee), Frans Steyn (pectoral muscle) and Duane Vermeulen (neck).

Furthermore, Coenie Oosthuizen underwent surgery on his neck last week and hasn’t joined the squad, Jaque Fourie will undergo a strict conditioning programme in the coming weeks while Willem Alberts was withdrawn from Monday’s training session because of an ankle niggle.

Roberts said the injury situation was not ideal at this stage of the season. He added that Du Preez should be out for between four and six weeks.

"Every effort will be made to ensure as many of the injured players get game time before we finalise the squad for the Rugby World Cup," said Roberts.

"Obviously we would’ve liked to have a squad with fully fit players available, but we have to play the hand we are dealt and will work with all of these players individually over the coming weeks.

"Players will be managed individually and we could send them back to their provinces to get game time, but that will be done in consultation with the unions and only when necessary."

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said that it was great to see the excitement and spirit among the players, despite the injury problems.

"I’m very excited to get going – it’s been a long few months since our last match, but we’ve worked incredibly hard behind the scenes and done an unbelievable amount of research and planning," said Meyer.

"It would’ve been great to hit the ground running with a fit squad, but because of the situation we’re in, we will have to use our next five matches before the Rugby World Cup to experiment with our depth and see where we need cover, which could mean players outside the current squad can still force their way in.

"Managing the injured players will be tough and I really hope we can give as many of them as possible enough game time so that they are in peak physical condition for the World Cup.

"Having said that, we realise we’re not the only team in this situation as injuries are part of the game everywhere. We still want to win every single game though and this season will provide a massive challenge yet again, as there is no such thing as an easy game."