Springboks: Injury concerns over Sbu Nkosi and Marco van Staden ahead of Autumn Nations Series opener

Colin Newboult

Marco van Staden of the Vodacom Bulls during the United Rugby Championship 2022/23 match between the Bulls and Sharks held at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on 30 October 2022 ©Willem Loock/Sports Inc

South Africa are waiting on scans for injured duo Sbu Nkosi and Marco van Staden, who have not travelled to Dublin ahead of their Autumn Nations Series opener.

Nkosi and Van Staden sustained rib issues during the Bulls’ 40-27 United Rugby Championship victory over the Sharks on Sunday.

The duo have remained behind in South Africa while the rest of the team travelled to Dublin ahead of their match with the world’s number one side, Ireland.

Sufficient cover

“We’ll wait for the outcome of their medical scans and once we know how serious it is we’ll decide if they will join the squad and if so, when,” director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said.

“Fortunately, we have sufficient cover at loose forward and among the outside backs to allow us to train fully and select a quality team.”

The Springboks had a slight disruption after their flight from Dubai to Dublin was delayed, but it didn’t prove to be too much of a setback.

“We are pleased to be in Dublin, and thanks to the swift planning from our operations team following the announcement that our flight to Dubai was delayed and the resultant longer layover in Dubai, we were able to ensure that the players remained as comfortable as possible throughout the journey,” Erasmus added.

“The entire squad with the exception of the injured players and Cheslin reported for duty in Dublin on Sunday night and despite a few changes to our programme, we have a full training day on Monday.”

Bok assistant coach and former Ireland international Felix Jones has been in Dublin since late last week, which made it easier for the rest of the backroom staff.

Golden opportunity

“We were very fortunate that Felix joined the squad on Sunday as he had a golden opportunity to work with the Stormers and overseas-based players on some detail while the rest of us were travelling,” head coach Jacques Nienaber said.

“We allowed the players additional recovery time on Monday morning to ensure that they are fresh when we take the field in our afternoon training session so we can leap straight into the thick of things.

“This is a massive Test for us as Ireland are the No 1 team in the world and we are also facing them in the pool stages of next year’s Rugby World Cup, so every minute of preparation time on and off the field counts.”

South Africa begin their end-of-year Test campaign against Ireland before facing France, Italy and England.

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