CAPE TOWN – The Springboks will have at least two changes in their pack for Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks in Albany.
Flank Jaco Kriel was ruled out of the showdown at North Harbour Stadium on Tuesday due to a shoulder injury. The Lions stalwart will return home and won’t be replaced in the squad.
Kriel’s withdrawal follows that of tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen, who sustained a broken arm in the past weekend’s 23-23 draw with the Wallabies in Perth.
“(Jaco Kriel) complained of a shoulder problem after the drawn match in Perth last Saturday. His condition did not improve since then, and he was sent for a scan on Monday afternoon in Auckland,” SA Rugby said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The scan revealed that Kriel, who has formed a formidable loose trio combination with Siya Kolisi and Uzair Cassiem in recent weeks, had sustained a labrum tear.
“Springbok team management has confirmed that no replacement will be called as the team has sufficient loose forward cover.”
Kriel’s absence is likely to result in Jean-Luc du Preez coming into the starting line-up at blindside flank against New Zealand.
Du Preez has impressed as a substitute off the bench throughout the 2017 season, and he is now set to get another chance to start after being a late replacement for the injured Warren Whiteley in the third Test against France in June.
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee may have already been considering starting Du Preez anyway, as his size and physicality could come in handy against the likes of Kieran Read and new flank sensation Vaea Fifita, who scored a brilliant solo try against Argentina last week.
The other loose forward in the squad is Jean-Luc’s twin brother Dan, who could come on to the bench and be in line for his Test debut, although with Franco Mostert fit again, Coetzee may opt for two locks among the reserves, with Pieter-Steph du Toit able to cover flank.
SA Rugby also confirmed that Western Province prop Wilco Louw joined the squad in Auckland late on Monday night as a replacement for Oosthuizen.
But Trevor Nyakane, who came off the bench against the Wallabies, is likely to wear the No 3 jersey in Albany on Saturday.