The Springboks are closely monitoring the fitness of Ross Cronjé and Siya Kolisi ahead of the first Rugby Championship Test against Argentina this Saturday, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Port Elizabeth.
Bok team doctor Konrad von Hagen confirmed on Monday that Cronjé’s availability will be determined by his ability to take contact towards the latter part of the week.
Cronjé was involved in a fair portion of Monday’s training session, but remained out of all contact situations as he looks to fully recover from a shoulder injury sustained in the Super Rugby final.
Should Cronjé fail to recover in time, Rudy Paige may then slot in at No 9 considering that Francois Hougaard only recently returned to the squad from the Worcester Warriors.
Meanwhile, although Kolisi made a full return to training towards the end of last week after seemingly overcoming an ankle niggle, it was notable that the Bok vice-captain had to sit out a large portion of the team’s afternoon training on Monday.
Towards the end of the session, Kolisi spent time on the sidelines with his ankle elevated while the Springboks went through several training exercises against members of the EP Kings squad.
While it may well have just been a precautionary measure, the Boks will be desperately hoping that Kolisi is able to get back to full training on Tuesday, with the Springbok vice-captain seen having a word with coach Allister Coetzee after Monday’s session.
In Kolisi’s absence, fit-again Jaco Kriel ran alongside Oupa Mohoje and Uzair Cassiem, who could be set to slot into a new-look loose trio on Saturday.
Hooker Malcolm Marx has been struggling with a bruised shoulder, but the way he got through Monday’s training suggests he should be able to take up his place in the front row, while Beast Mtawarira appears to have fully recovered from a neck injury.
Notably, Handré Pollard was another player who looked in good knick as he got stuck into training on Monday, but Von Hagen said he would not be considered for selection just yet after a lengthy spell of injury problems.
It could pave the way for Curwin Bosch to feature on the bench as flyhalf cover for Elton Jantjies, with Frans Steyn no longer in the squad after fulfilling that role against France in June.
The Boks’ intensity and accuracy certainly looked impressive in their first training session of the week, where consultant Brendan Venter continued to have a noticeable input.
Venter, who is a practising doctor, even had to come to the aid of a Kings player who was involved in a thundering collision during one of the Bok drills, which left him having to be helped from the field
The Springbok team for this weekend’s Test is set to be named at 14:00 on Thursday.
Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images
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