Pienaar unlikely to feature for Boks

Date published: November 3 2014

Springbok doctor Craig Roberts has admitted that Ruan Pienaar will not play against Ireland and could be replaced in the squad.

Springbok doctor Craig Roberts has admitted that scrum-half Ruan Pienaar will not play against Ireland and could be replaced in the squad.

The 30-year-old Ulster scrum-half injured his knee during the Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks in Wellington in September and has conceded that it is “touch and go” if he will be fit for any of South Africa’s November internationals.

At Monday’s press conference, Dr. Roberts said the Springbok medical staff had yet to make a final call on the veteran player’s participation on the tour.

“The biggest decision we have to make this week [concerns] Ruan Pienaar, who hasn’t played for while. He’s coming back from a medial knee ligament injury,” said Roberts.

“We’ve assessed him now and we’re relatively happy with where he is but we’ll wait to see when he’s running and training just to judge exactly where he is and make a decision on his availability for this weekend and the rest of the tour depending on how he progressed.

“Based on where he is and the feedback from his club – he hasn’t done lot of field running at this stage – we really just want to judge for ourselves where he is, but at this stage it doesn’t look like he’ll be available for the game this weekend.

“Obviously he were hoping to have him available for England, but if he’s not going to be available for that then we might need to look at a replacement.”

There is better news regarding loose forward Duane Vermeulen, who will train this week after sitting out the pre-departure sessions in Johannesburg due to a “muscular tweak” in his rib cage.

“Duane has responded well to treatment and we are expecting him to resume training,” said Roberts.

“It has been great to have the guys out of the Currie Cup this year. We topped up on our fitness in the training camp in Stellenbosch and again during the time in Johannesburg before we left on tour. I am happy with where we are.

“All the guys here are fit, but of course we also do have a lot of players that we left behind because of injuries. We have about a 20 per cent injury rate at the moment, which is normal for a rugby squad.”