Injury could force Bakkies to miss World Cup opener

Lock Bakkies Botha could miss the Springboks’ opening match of the Rugby World Cup against Wales on Sunday because of an Achilles injury, South Africa’s communications manager Andy Colquhoun confirmed on Tuesday.

“At the moment 29 players in the squad are fine and the only doubt for the weekend is Bakkies Botha who has got Achilles Tendinosis, which is a chronic problem which is being managed at the moment,” Colquhoun said.

Botha, along with wing Bryan Habana, fellow second rowers Victor Matfield and Danie Rossouw were seen training separately from their teammates earlier this week.

Colquhoun, however, made it clear that Botha is the only player that is currently out of the reckoning.

“Everybody else is rehabbing and is due for selection.”

Time for Rossouw
A possible loss of Botha could open the door for Rossouw, Springboks No. 8 Pierre Spies said.

“Bakkies is a person you always miss, in his special way, but for us it’s important to keep the routine of the team going,” he added.

“Danie is very similar to Bakkies, so we’ll just stick to the way we play, keep going with it and we won’t change our plans.

“We’ll wait and see how the week turns out and hopefully his foot can recover in time.”

Reigning champions South Africa face a Wales side they have dominated in recent years, but one quietly confident of causing an upset after confidence-building wins over England and Argentina in August.

Intelligent play
Wales would need to play intelligent rugby and seize the few scoring opportunities likely to be on offer against the miserly Springboks defence if they were to have any hope of toppling the southern hemisphere giants, assistant coach Rob Howley said.

“We need to score two or three tries if we are to win the game and we are aware of that,” he added.

“We keep talking to our players about having composure in particular moments [because the Springboks’] scrambling defence is very good.”

The coaching staff had taken a keen interest in Morné Steyn and the Springboks’ 18-5 win over World Cup hosts New Zealand during the recent Tri-Nations tournament, with discipline a key lesson from the game.

Wales had conceded 54 points from penalties in their five games against South Africa in the preceding three years, which had all ended in defeats, said Howley.

“[We have to] make sure that we don’t give any silly penalties away,” the former Wales and British and Irish Lions scrumhalf said.

“If you look back at the New Zealand game, it went 3-0, 6-0, 9-0 after 15 minutes from 50 yards out.

“He [Steyn] is a wonderful kicker and you don’t want to give [them].” — Sapa, Reuters

Subscribe to the M&G for R2 a month

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

And for this weekend only, you can become a subscriber by paying just R2 a month for your first three months.

Related stories

Indians in South Africa, a historical excerpt

In the book, The Indian Africans, academic Kiru Naidoo explores the society of colonial Natal in the late 1800s to early 1900

A colossus with feet of clay

South Africa is disproportionately targeted by cybercriminals. Digital attacks call for digital solutions and technology is a the prime weapon in this fight

The president, the preacher and the great escape

Malawi’s new president was furious after Shepherd Bushiri’s dramatic disappearance from South Africa

Busy Bee continues to sting despite challenges

Cape Town’s oldest Black rugby club personifies the problems Black rugby faces, including attempts to have its history erased, being affected by apartheid and struggling financially for good resources

Patel: South Africa on target to attract R1.2-trillion in investments

The trade minister says the country is on track to reach more than R1-trillion worth of investments over five years, despite Covid-19 disruptions

South Africa must revisit and refresh its idea of itself

Covid has propelled citizens into feelings of a new shared identity in which the historical force of ‘whiteness’ is fading into irrelevance

Subscribers only

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

Q&A Sessions: ‘I think I was born way before my...

The chief executive of the Estate Agency Affairs Board and the deputy chair of the SABC board, shares her take on retrenchments at the public broadcaster and reveals why she hates horror movies

More top stories

DRC: Tshisekedi and Kabila fall out

The country’s governing coalition is under strain, which could lead to even more acrimony ahead

Editorial: Crocodile tears from the coalface

Pumping limited resources into a project that is predominantly meant to extend dirty coal energy in South Africa is not what local communities and the climate needs.

Klipgat residents left high and dry

Flushing toilets were installed in backyards in the North West, but they can’t be used because the sewage has nowhere to go

Nehawu leaders are ‘betraying us’

The accusation by a branch of the union comes after it withdrew from a parliamentary process

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…