Bok sensation Cheslin Kolbe was the big injury concern coming out of last week’s win against Italy. Photo: Peter Cziborra/Reuters

JOHANNESBURG – It has been more than a week since superstar Cheslin Kolbe hurt his ankle against Italy and since he last put any real pressure on his foot. The good news though is there is still more than a week to go before the Springboks have to play their World Cup quarter-final in Tokyo.

Kolbe was the big injury concern coming out of last week’s win against Italy and while Bok boss Rassie Erasmus seems confident he will be fit to play next week Sunday - against either Ireland, Japan or Scotland - in the fourth quarter-final, the diminutive winger is still nursing his ankle.

“We’re hopeful that Cheslin will be back and training fully on Monday,” said Erasmus yesterday. “I think there’s a good chance he’ll be available ... an 80 to 90 percent chance.”

Kolbe has been the Boks’ big star in Japan. He wasn’t considered for the match against Canada on Tuesday and, like the rest of the squad, took some time off in recent days.

There are two other injury worries, namely scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies (hamstring) and loose-forward Francois Louw (knee).

“Herschel has a light hamstring strain so at this stage it’s precautionary that he isn’t training,” explained Erasmus. “We’ve given him more time to recover and hopefully he, too, will be back with us in training on Monday. It’s not even a grade one (strain), so he won’t be going anywhere.”

Erasmus did mention though that veteran scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, who is now back playing for the Cheetahs in the Pro14 competition, would be the first back-up No9 were the Boks to call up a replacement for any of their players currently in Japan.

Louw has a swollen knee, which is taking a little longer to recover - something Erasmus attributed to his age.”He’ll be fine. We’ll just manage him a little differently to the other guys.”

The other 28 players in the squad participated in a full training session in Kobe yesterday as Japan braced for super typhoon Hagibis hitting the east coast today. Kobe is on the west coast and while heavy rain and wind is expected to batter the city, it’s not likely to be as severe as what is expected in Tokyo and the surrounds.

“It won’t affect us in training,” said Erasmus. “We’ll train on Saturday and then take Sunday off before moving on to Tokyo. We’re also comfortable with moving out training indoors if we must; so the typhoon won’t affect us at all.

“Obviously, like everyone else, we’re interested in seeing what the weather does and how it affects things,” said Erasmus. “I’ve never been involved in anything quite like this and it’s interesting to be a part of it.”

So far two matches have been cancelled because of Hagibis - New Zealand versus Italy and England versus France.

The Springboks will play one of either Japan, Ireland or Scotland in the quarter-finals next Sunday - whichever of them finishes top of Pool A. It will be Japan if their match against Scotland in Yokohama tomorrow is abandoned because of storm damage - or if Japan win, should it go ahead.

The Boks will play Ireland if they beat Samoa today and then Scotland overcome Japan with a bonus point tomorrow. And the Boks could play Scotland if they beat Japan with a bonus point while Ireland lose to Samoa.

@jacq_west


The Star

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