Boks sweat over Lambie and Steyn

Backline pivots Francois Steyn and Patrick Lambie will have less than 24 hours to prove their fitness ahead of the announcement of the Rugby World Cup squad on Tuesday.

Both players are battling to shake off injuries sustained during South Africa’s Tri-Nations Tests in the past two weeks.

Steyn is suffering from a hamstring strain he picked up during the clash against Australia just over a week ago, and Lambie was rushed off the field with shoulder injury in the opening minutes of the Springboks’ victory against New Zealand in Port Elizabeth over the weekend.

The South African Rugby Union (Saru) decided to give the pair the maximum amount of time to prove their fitness before the squad is announced on Tuesday afternoon. If they are ruled out it will deal a serious blow to the Bok backline, with Steyn as first choice fullback and Lambie being able to either slot into the same role or provide ample backup at flyhalf for Morné Steyn and Butch James.

At the post-match press conference Coach Peter De Villiers remained mum on both players’ fitness, saying team injuries will only be discussed with the team doctor on Monday.

If both are left in South Africa it will provide a chance for Gio Aplon to secure a berth at number 15 with another spot being opened up for a further utility backline player.

These are not the only injury concerns, with lock supremo Victor Matfield soldiering on in the second half of Saturday’s Test with an unspecified injury and loose forward Heinrich Brüssow being shepherded off the field with blood pouring from his face, only to gallantly return to the field to complete a sterling performance.

Already out of the squad is lock Andries Bekker and flank Juan Smith with back and Achilles injuries respectively.

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Nickolaus Bauer
Nickolaus Bauer is the Mail & Guardian's jack of all trades news reporter that chases down stories ranging from politics and sports to big business and social justice. Armed with an iPad, SLR camera, camcorder and dictaphone, he aims to fight ignorance and pessimism through written words, photographs and videos. He believes South Africa could be the greatest country in the world if only her citizens would give her a chance to flourish instead of dwell on the negativity. When he's not begging his sub-editors for an extra twenty minutes after deadline, he's also known to dabble in the occasional poignant column that will leave you mulling around in the depths of your psyche. The quintessential workaholic, you can also catch him doing sports on the weekday breakfast show on SAfm and presenting the SAfm Sports Special over the weekend.

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