Pieter-Steph du Toit of South Africa A warming up before the 2021 British and Irish Lions Tour rugby match against South Africa A. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Pieter-Steph du Toit of South Africa A warming up before the 2021 British and Irish Lions Tour rugby match against South Africa A. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Pieter-Steph du Toit ‘definitely fit’ for first Lions Test, but two new injury concerns for the Springboks

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Jul 15, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Pieter-Steph du Toit should be fine to line up for the Springboks’ first Test against the British and Irish Lions, but the South Africans have two new injury worries ahead of next Saturday’s clash at Cape Town Stadium.

Star blindside flank Du Toit got a knock to his head while tackling Elliot Daly early in the second half of Wednesday’s 17-13 victory over the Lions.

He was reluctant to leave the field, but team doctor Jerome Mampane insisted that he go off for a head injury assessment (HIA). After Du Toit refused, Mampane informed referee Jaco Peyper, and the No 7 eventually made his way to the sidelines.

“In all honesty, I think he (Du Toit) actually passed it. But although it was a massive game – we really wanted to win the game, I promise you… I think Warren (Gatland) also wanted to win the game. That is why we are doing drop goals at the end and stuff like that. It was really a case of both teams wanting to win the game,” SA A coach Rassie Erasmus said in the post-match press conference.

“But I think it (taking off Du Toit) was really precautionary. When I chatted for the last few seconds before Pieter-Steph was (timed out), it sounded like he was cleared, but we just thought it would be stupid to get him on to the park when we know the real Test match is only in 10 days’ time. He will definitely be fit when the real one starts.”

For that first Test, Erasmus is expecting the likes of captain Siya Kolisi, Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Handre Pollard, Makazole Mapimpi and Frans Steyn to return from Covid-19 related issues, and he is hopeful that locks Lood de Jager and RG Snyman will also feature at some time during the three-Test series.

He is not as sure about No 8 Duane Vermeulen, but now awaits feedback on Willie le Roux and Jasper Wiese, who sustained injuries on Wednesday night.

“I think Willie has a hamstring that’s a little bit sore. Jasper, at the end, had an ankle. Apart from that, it was all tactical subs because the guys were really tired. I think only those two guys are concerns at this stage,” Erasmus said.

“Duane is currently rehabbing with the Bulls. He is touch and go I think for the second or the last Test match. The big question is always how match-fit – you saw (today) the guys who haven’t played for a while at this intensity…

“I think a guy like Alun Wyn Jones will struggle, who has been out for a while. I think Duane Vermeulen would struggle, but if you have the right combinations next to him and the right substitutions, maybe again go for the six-two split, then you can counter things like that.

“So, he is definitely in our plans, but it’s not a definite that I can tell you listen here, it’s going so well with his rehab that he is definitely going to be there in the second Test or third Test. But there is a good possibility. But we are not banking on that at this stage.”

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