Div mulls Bakkies options
Wellington - Coach Peter de Villiers says South Africa may act to summon backup for injured locks Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha "sooner rather than later," while center Jean de Villiers may again have to watch some of a Rugby World Cup from the sidelines.
Matfield aggravated a hamstring strain during the Springboks 17-16 win over Wales on Sunday and was taken from the field early in his record 108th test match to prevent the injury deteriorating and is expected to be sidelined for 10 days.
"Bakkies has got an Achilles tendon problem which hasn't responded as well as we anticipated," team doctor Craig Roberts said.
"We are still working on it and we haven't made a decision about how we're going to continue with him at this stage.
"The other one who is in a similar boat is Victor Matfield, who started feeling his hamstring tightening up and with a long tournament ahead we decided to put him off (the field) to try and protect that hamstring."
Coach de Villiers said the need for a replacement now had to be considered at an early stage.
He said the Springboks had expected injuries to be a natural consequence of the physical nature of World Cup rugby. The ageing nature of the South African team - which deployed 815 test caps against Wales, the most experienced lineup in its history - exacerbated the injury risk.
"We always knew there would be injuries but what you gain from this team with experience you will forfeit on fitness," he said. "We always knew it because the older you get the longer it takes to get over the game blues."
Roberts said Jean de Villiers suffered a grade one rib cartilage strain before being replaced in the 24th minute of Sunday's match and would be sidelined for around 10 days. The rugged inside center was part of the Springboks team that won the 2007 World Cup, though he tore a biceps early in that tournament and spent most of it one the sidelines.
Peter de Villiers said there was no need for alarm because there was depth in South Africa and if reinforcements are required "we bring them."
"We've got a good team and to get a squad in which we can get our best players on the field is the focus for the tournament," he said.
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