Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Pretoria - The Springboks were hit by another blow ahead of their Grand Slam tour of Europe when top Bulls midfielder Wynand Olivier pulled out because of injury.
Olivier will undergo an operation on his groin this week and will need to be in bed, off his feet for at least a month. He will only be able to return to the training field in January but should be okay to play in the first game of next year’s inaugural Super 15 competition.
With a decision still needing to be taken on which Springboks will be rested for the tour and who will go, the hard-running style of Olivier would have been an advantage for the Springboks on the heavy, wet fields of Britain and Ireland.
Olivier will use the time off to rehabilitate and ensure he is fit and ready for a very important 2011 season where he will be hoping to make the Bok squad that goes to the World Cup in New Zealand.
The blonde midfielder said he was disappointed but couldn’t put the surgery off any longer.
“It's an injury that I have been struggling with for at least four or five weeks now and it almost kept me out of the semi-final last weekend,” Olivier said.
“While it is disappointing to not be considered for the tour at the end of the year, I believe it's the right decision to undergo the operation now and ensure that I’m fit and ready for the season next year. We have the Super 15 and the World Cup is the big one.”
Olivier is also unlikely to be at the Bulls pre-season camp in George this year, but may still make an appearance to see the medical personnel as part of his rehabilitation programme.
“The rest will be a good thing for me but to be on your back for four weeks will be tough. I won’t be able to do much, probably just play a bit of playstation and that’s the closest I’ll get to a rugby field,” Olivier joked.
The midfielder phoned Bok coach Peter de Villiers on Wednesday morning to inform him of the operation.
While he has been a star for the Bulls over the past few seasons, Olivier has tough competition for the midfield position against the three Western Province centres - Jaque Fourie, Juan de Jongh and Jean de Villiers.
The revised training group is as follows (overseas-based players were not considered for the camp):
Backs: Gio Aplon (Vodacom Western Province), Bjorn Basson (GWK Griquas), Juan de Jongh , Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana (all Vodacom Western Province), Francois Hougaard (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Adrian Jacobs (The Sharks), Elton Jantjies (Xerox Lions), Ricky Januarie (Vodacom Western Province), Zane Kirchner (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo (both The Sharks), JP Pietersen (The Sharks), Morne Steyn (Vodacom Blue Bulls).
Forwards: Willem Alberts (The Sharks), Bakkies Botha (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Schalk Burger (Vodacom Western Province), Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis (both The Sharks), Dean Greyling (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Alistair Hargreaves (The Sharks), Ashley Johnson (Vodacom Free State Cheetahs), Ryan Kankowski (The Sharks), Werner Kruger, Victor Matfield (both Vodacom Blue Bulls), Gerhard Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira (both The Sharks), Coenie Oosthuizen (Vodacom Free State Cheetahs), Dewald Potgieter, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Danie Rossouw (all Vodacom Blue Bulls), Juan Smith, Adriaan Strauss (both Vodacom Free State Cheetahs), Pierre Spies, Deon Stegman (both Vodacom Blue Bulls), CJ van der Linde (Vodacom Free State Cheetahs), Flip van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Western Province).