Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth is stopped in his tracks by French lock Paul Gabrillagues in Paris. Photo: Yoan Valat/EPA

Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth has a “good chance” of playing in their third match of the end-of-year tour against Italy on Saturday.

The Bok lock left the field late in their fixture against France in Paris at the weekend, and team doctor Konrad von Hagen on Monday confirmed that the blow to Etzebeth’s leg caused only a soft tissue injury.

“The X-rays we did on Sunday all came out normal. We expect it just to be a soft tissue injury and will manage it accordingly. He has a good chance to play on Saturday,” Von Hagen said.

Hooker Malcolm Marx – who picked up a shoulder injury in the Boks’ 18-17 win at the Stade de France the weekend – went for an MRI scan on Monday.

The scan revealed no major injury, but the form hooker will also have to recover from some soft tissue bruising and will be “given as much time as possible to recover”.

Von Hagen confirmed that lock Pieter-Steph du Toit is recovering well from the concussion he sustained in their 38-3 defeat to Ireland.

“Pieter-Steph is busy with the last steps of his return-to-play protocols, but I expect him to be available for selection,” the team doctor added.

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee was pleased to have Du Toit back in training: “It’s great to have Pieter-Steph back because he was excellent for us prior to the concussion.”

The Bok mentor also said that they would select their “strongest possible team” for their date in Padova.

“The whole idea for us this week is to play with our strongest possible team so that we can build more momentum and continuity.

“There will be opportunities for the wider group in the last match (against Wales in Cardiff on December 2) because that one falls outside the international window, which means that for the Wales Test, players based overseas – such as Duane Vermeulen (France), Francois Louw (England), Elton Jantjies and Franco Mostert (both Japan) – will not be available for selection. That would obviously give opportunities for other players,” said Coetzee.

 

IOL Sport