PRETORIA - The broken arm injury suffered by in-form Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen which led to him being sent home from Australia, has left Springbok coach Allister Coetzee with a selection poser at prop.
Oosthuizen’s untimely injury will strike a major blow to the Springboks pack and scrumming prowess ahead of their Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks in Albany on Saturday.
Western Province powerhouse prop Wilco Louw will be joining the Springboks in Auckland this week and could be in contention to make his international debut considering there are injury doubts over the versatile Trevor Nyakane too.
Nyakane suffered a cut around his left eye which required eight stitches in Saturday's 23-all draw against the Wallabies in Perth and whether he will be fit for battle against New Zealand remains uncertain.
It will be another big blow for Coetzee’s plans if Nyakane is ruled out of Saturday’s Test as the impact made by both Nyakane and Steven Kitshoff in the scrums and in general play has been immense since the beginning of the Rugby Championship.
With Oosthuizen out, Nyakane seemed to be the logical successor of the No 3 jersey but now it is looking more like Lions prop Ruan Dreyer could be the man to start alongside Tendai Mtawarira and hooker Malcolm Marx.
With only one Test cap to his name, which he earned in the third Test against France in June, Dreyer could find himself at the heart of what could be the fiercest scrum battle in world rugby this year.
While Coetzee mulls over his frontrow, he will also have to take careful consideration of his second row after Pieter-Steph du Toit put on a stellar performance in the stalemate against the Wallabies.
Du Toit was elevated to the starting line-up in place of the industrious Franco Mostert, who Coetzee rested. But there will be a need for all of the Springboks' top players to be accounted for in the face of battle against their most bitter rivals and foes.
Mostert has commanded the No 5 jersey with aplomb since being handed the starting berth in the series against France and he is a must have selection in any Bok team for his sheer hard toil in all departments.
But it would be equally a failure for Coetzee to leave out Du Toit after he put on a performance worthy of the country’s reigning Player of the Year and one that will be needed against the All Blacks.