Cape Town - Willem Alberts has been ruled out of the Springboks’ Rugby Championship tour to Australia and New Zealand and will be replaced in the 30-man squad by Warren Whiteley.
Alberts missed both Test victories against Argentina because of a hamstring injury and he underwent a fitness test on Thursday afternoon. Although his hamstring is recovering well, he experienced some nerve irritation in his lower back and was sent for scans.
“Willem requires further investigation of the symptoms and will see a number of specialists to determine the optimal management plan to get him back performing on the field as soon as possible,” said Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts.
Whiteley, who toured with the Springboks to Argentina last week, will join the team in Johannesburg on Friday morning.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said that although Juan Smith was on standby, the player requested more time to work on his match fitness.
“Juan has very high standards and he wasn’t happy with his performance in Salta,” said Meyer.
“Warren really impressed me last week, he’s been playing very well and it made sense to get him back in. Like Willem, he is very effective with ball in hand and also a great option at the back of the lineout.
“More importantly, Warren is a natural No 8, which is a position where we need cover, but he can play flank as well.”
The Springboks play Australia in Perth on 6 September at 12:05 (SA time) and take on New Zealand in Wellington the weekend thereafter at 09:35.
The squad will prepare in Johannesburg before their departure to Western Australia on Saturday.
Updated South Africa squad for Rugby Championship Tests in Australia and New Zealand:
Bakkies Botha, Schalk Brits, Marcell Coetzee, Lood de Jager, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw, Victor Matfield, Teboho Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Gurthro Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Marcel van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen, Warren Whiteley
Damian de Allende, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana, Cornal Hendricks, Francois Hougaard, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Handré Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Jan Serfontein, Morné Steyn