Eben Etzebeth still in doubt for Springboks against Scotland
After he was set to return to training, Eben Etzebeth has still not been cleared to play for the Springboks in Saturday’s clash against Scotland.
The No 4 lock sat out of last weekend’s 29-26 victory over France in Paris after sustaining a foot injury that forced him off the field in the 12-11 loss to England in London a week earlier.
The Bok management said that Etzebeth was set to return to training on Monday, while No 8 Warren Whiteley was a serious injury doubt with a calf problem.
Props Frans Malherbe and Vincent Koch had some “bumps”, but coach Rassie Erasmus felt that they would be fit to play.
But on Tuesday, SA Rugby said in a statement that “a call on the fitness of Eben Etzebeth will only be made later in the week”.
The Stormers giant’s return was set to pave the way for Pieter-Steph du Toit’s shift back to flank at Murrayfield, with Franco Mostert at No 5.
That may still happen anyway, though, especially with Whiteley under a cloud, which would see Duane Vermeulen move back to No 8.
RG Snyman started in all three June Tests against England and has made an impact when he has come off the bench, so he would certainly add some silky handling skills and lineout prowess to complement Mostert in the second row.
The other locks in the squad are WP Currie Cup star JD Schickerling and Lood de Jager, who hasn’t played any rugby since May except for 15 minutes against England at Twickenham in his comeback from a pectoral muscle tear.
Training day 2 in Edinburgh - sunny skies at the Peffermill fields where the #Springboks continue with their preparations for Saturday's clash against Scotland. #boksontour#CastleLagerOutgoingTour#LoveRugby #SCOvRSA pic.twitter.com/LshqTxJWPP— South African Rugby (@Springboks) November 13, 2018
Meanwhile, scrumhalf Faf de Klerk may also sit out the final Test of the tour against Wales in Cardiff next week.
De Klerk was curiously released from the Bok squad this week to his club Sale Sharks, who are battling in second-last place on the 12-team English Premiership log at the moment, after playing every minute of the victory over France.
The Bok management said on Tuesday that a decision on whether or not to recall De Klerk against Wales will only be made after the Scotland Test.
Erasmus will name his match-23 on Thursday, where one of Ivan van Zyl, Embrose Papier and Louis Schreuder will be handed the No 9 jersey.