Boks sweat over Rossouw’s fitness

Although the Springbok management expect him to be available for the Tri-Nations Test against the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday, there is a measure of concern about the hamstring injury Springbok utility forward Danie Rossouw sustained during the Springboks’ scrum training on Saturday morning.

Team doctor Craig Roberts on Monday said that Rossouw was the only concern after both flank Juan Smith (ankle) and wing Odwa Ndungane (bruised hip) had run with the team on Monday. They sat out last week’s training sessions in Pretoria after the Springboks reassembled for their tour to Australasia.

”Danie picked up a mild hamstring strain during the scrumming on Saturday and we’ll be managing him this week.

”We’ll give Danie as long as possible to recover,” Roberts said.

”He went for a scan today [Monday] and there’s no disruption, just a little bleeding in the muscle. We’ll be managing him and we’re not too concerned,” said Roberts.

Smith, who rolled his ankle against the Wallabies at Newlands two weeks ago, had his first run with the team on Monday, and Roberts said he was confident the flanker will be available for Saturday’s match. Smith had not trained since the Newlands Test but kept up well for half of Monday’s session.

Ndungane had a full practice and ”will be ready for the match,” Roberts said.

Meanwhile, Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said that it did not concern the Boks that New Zealand had beaten Australia in the Tri-Nations clash played on Saturday.

”We didn’t concentrate on their result, it doesn’t matter to us who wins,” he said.

”We concentrate on our next match and we’ll pour all our energy into the Perth match [against the Wallabies on Saturday],” De Villiers said.

”They’re both strong sides, and there’s little to choose between the three sides. On any day, any one of the sides can win.

”I thought it was a good game and physical,” he added about Saturday’s clash in Sydney and said the Boks will have to concentrate not to concede turnovers when they play Australia on Saturday.

De Villiers declined to comment on All Blacks coach Graham Henry’s statement last week that South Africa played a dull sort of game with kicking as their main weapon.

”The All Blacks will be the All Blacks, and if they say something there is something behind it. We want to do our own thing and won’t become involved in a verbal battle,” said De Villiers.

He said that history didn’t help for the future, and that although the Springboks would dearly love to win all three of their matches in Australasia, they were aware that it would be very tough.

”If we play well and our execution is good, it would help towards a win,” he said, and pointed out that the Springboks would be under no less pressure than the Wallabies who had to win their remaining three matches to win the Tri-Nations competition. — Sapa

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