Eben Etzebeth left the field with an ankle problem against England, but may recover in time to face France on Saturday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

PARIS – Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth could recover from injury in time to face France this weekend, head coach Rassie Erasmus said on Monday.

Etzebeth left the field in the Springboks’ 12-11 defeat to England on Saturday with an ankle injury.

Erasmus originally said the gifted 27-year-old would miss the French game and could be out for the rest of the tour.

“The injury is not as bad as we initially thought, and we will give Eben time until Tuesday to prove his fitness,” said Erasmus, who is set to announce the line-up on Thursday.

The Springboks have been strengthened by the arrival of Faf de Klerk, Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Franco Mostert, Francois Louw and Vincent Koch in the French capital.

The European-based players missed last Saturday’s loss to England as the fixture was played outside World Rugby’s official international window.

“He (De Klerk) is more experienced than a lot of the young players we brought in, Erasmus said.

“He’s an important player, you can’t buy experience,” he added.

Erasmus also called for stability in refereeing decisions after Angus Gardner chose not to penalise the England’s Owen Farrell on Saturday following a controversial tackle on André Esterhuizen with the clock having already turned red. 

Farrell seemed to lead with his shoulder as it made contact with Esterhuizen in the 82nd minute of the game.

World Rugby’s laws read dangerous play includes but is not limited to striking with any part of the shoulder and is sanctioned by a penalty.

“I think you need to be consistent every game,” he said. “If that’s acceptable, then you can do it. If it’s not, then don’t do it.

“You can’t change the decision, you need to live with that.”

Following the French game, the Springboks play Scotland on November 17 and Wales on November 24.