Springbok scrumhalf ruled out of tour

Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez has been ruled out of the end-of-year tour after an medical scan on Friday afternoon revealed damage to his groin muscle.

Du Preez felt discomfort on Thursday evening after suffering a groin strain at Thursday afternoon’s training session at St Stithians College in Johannesburg. He took no part in Friday’s training.

Instead, he was sent to a Rosebank clinic for tests, which showed damage that will bring a premature end to his glittering season.

According to Bok media liaison Rayaan Adriaanse, Du Preez will seek surgical opinion in Pretoria on Monday, but it is highly unlikely, even if he is able to feature in the European leg of the tour, that coach Jake White will risk one of his key players.

“The conservative opinion at this stage is that Fourie will be out for at least four weeks, but he will consult a surgeon on Monday and get a second opinion,” said Adriaanse.

White had already lost Ricky Januarie for the end-of-year tour even before the squad was announced and now has just Western Province’s Bolla Conradie and Free State’s Michael Classens as his tour scrumhalves.

“Jake has not decided on a replacement as yet, or if he will even call on one,” he said.

The latest withdrawal brings to 10 the number of first-choice players White has been unable to take on tour for the season finale—nine because of injuries—while flyhalf Andre Pretorius remains an injury doubt just days before departure.

Du Preez and Januarie have alternated in the number-nine jersey with great effect this season, but their absence could open the door for Bolla Conradie to start against Argentina on November 5.

“Fourie’s injury is a typical overuse injury and I could use Bolla to start,” White said on Friday.

Conradie was an integral part of White’s 2004 Tri-Nations-winning Boks and would slot in easily to the starting XV for what promises to be a massive game against a full-strength Argentinian outfit.

“Fourie played in almost every Test this year as well as every Super 12 game and Currie Cup match, so he is in desperate need of a rest,” explained White.

Halfback partner Pretorius, meanwhile, has still not trained with the Boks this week, but White is hopeful he will get a run in Cape Town on Saturday morning—the squad’s last practice before embarking on the tour.

The Springboks leave for the Mother City on Friday evening, where they will spend two nights before departing for the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, on Sunday morning.

Sharks utility back Brent Russell is virtually assured of touring as cover for Pretorius. Cheetahs under-21 star Meyer Bosman will fly with the Boks to Cape Town, but his place on the plane to South America is still not guaranteed.

White has yet to decide whether to take the exciting youngster on tour, but it is a scenario that does not worry the Currie Cup-winning back.

“I don’t mind waiting for Jake to make his mind up.
This is a dream come true to be involved with the Springboks and I’ll take my chance if given it,” Bosman said.—Sapa

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