CAPE TOWN – It was looking ominous at one stage, but there was relief for Springbok coach Allister Coetzee on Monday when captain Eben Etzebeth was passed fit for Saturday’s Test against Ireland in Dublin.
Etzebeth had been battling with an ankle injury that he sustained during a recent Bok training camp in Stellenbosch, which saw him wear a moon boot as part of the rehabilitation process.
The moon boot was removed last week, and the giant lock trained on his own in Johannesburg on Saturday before departing for Dublin via Doha, Qatar.
He hadn’t practised with the team as a whole, though, but on Monday, SA Rugby announced that the Western Province No 4 had been passed fit to run out at Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
Coetzee had opted to bring in Sharks No 5 Ruan Botha as a replacement for injured flank Jean-Luc du Preez as extra cover for Etzebeth.
SA Rugby added that Coetzee will have a fully fit squad to choose from.
“Our mindset is that it’s not the end-of-year tour – this tour is about making sure we improve as a group and keep on growing as a team, while also staying on course with our 2019 plan,” the coach said in a statement.
“This is an important tour for us, and our standard of play has to be at the level of our last match against New Zealand in Cape Town.”