Pretoria - Flip van der Merwe’s season ended with a whimper rather than a bang as the big lock was ruled out for the rest of the year with a knee injury.
According to the supersport.com website, Van der Merwe, who hurt himself in the closing minutes of the one-point victory over Wales in Nelspruit this past weekend, underwent a scan and was sent for a specialist opinion by the Springbok management on Monday.
And the news was not good.
The specialist ruled that Van der Merwe had to undergo surgery on his posterior cruciate ligament, and will therefore be out for six months.
He joins a growing list of injured players who will miss the Castle Lager Rugby Championship and only return to action in next year’s Vodacom Super Rugby series.
The Boks will be hoping on better news for Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira though, as the prop will be monitored for the “bulging disc” in his neck, also sustained in the same game, before a decision will be made about his availability for the Rugby Championship.
But with Willem Alberts also on the sideline this week with concussion, it is hard not to sympathise with coach Heyneke Meyer’s injury list, which just keeps on growing.
In addition to this, Johan Goosen’s reoccurring knee injury has meant he has played virtually just two minutes of the entire June test series.
At the moment there are no less than 18 players out with injury, and if you consider that another seven have been released back to their European clubs, then the Boks sit without 25 players that they can choose from.
The injury list is as follows: Jean de Villiers (knee), Damian de Allende (knee) Eben Etzebeth (foot), Jaque Fourie (ankle), Pat Lambie (bicep), Frans Malherbe (concussion), Scarra Ntubeni (foot), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee), Franco van der Merwe (ankle), Arno Botha (knee), Pierre Spies (bicep), Louis Schreuder (hand), Gio Aplon (elbow), Juan de Jongh (pneumonia), Mtawarira, Van der Merwe, Alberts and Goosen (knee)
The players released to their clubs are Gurthro Steenkamp, Schalk Brits, Bakkies Botha, Francois Louw, Morné Steyn, Wynand Olivier and Bryan Habana.