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Pietersen worry for Boks

2015-10-05 10:52
JP Pietersen (Gallo Images)

London - Springbok wing JP Pietersen remains the only real injury worry following South Africa's 34-16 win over Scotland in their Rugby World Cup Pool B match in Newcastle on Saturday, the website reports.

As the Boks shifted base from Newcastle to the outskirts of London, Pietersen’s chances of playing against the USA at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday look slim after he twisted his knee in the clash at St James’ Park.

With this being the last game before the quarterfinals, one the Boks need to win well, there might be a temptation to push Pietersen, but with 10 days before the quarter-finals after that, it may be a lot wiser to rest him in anticipation for qualification and play Lwazi Mvovo instead.

The same goes for the likes of Victor Matfield (hamstring) and Jannie du Plessis (knee), both of whom may not be considered for selection given their injury niggles.

“Victor has been struggling with his hamstring,” team doctor Craig Roberts said.

“It was touch and go for the Scotland game and we made the decision that it was probably not worth it to risk him. We will assess him at training and see how he goes. If he runs comfortably, we will possibly consider him for the USA game.

“Jannie took a knock to his knee, he managed to run through it and play through it. He is a little bit sore today, we will reassess him tomorrow and make the call but I’m not too worried about it.”

Despite some concern over the duo, Roberts reminded all that it was quite normal for players to have injury niggles.

“That’s what makes rugby unique - guys play with injuries. Obviously you don’t want to put a player on the field with the risk of making his injury worse, but after three or four games you can expect that every player has a few niggles, be it a tight hamstring, a tight back or sore shoulders.

“That’s the reality of rugby, it is about managing those players and trying to get the best out of them when it comes to game time.”

The four day turnaround was always going to be a challenge to the team, and they are likely to name a top squad, scattered with a few other players who will get another chance to impress.

Players like Morne Steyn and Rudy Paige, who haven’t played this World Cup yet, are likely to be part of the match day 23.

“There are always challenges, we always knew we had a quick turnaround. Recovery has always been the focus of this game,” Roberts explained.

“Obviously with the four-day turnaround tomorrow (Monday) is our only training session, which will be a flush-out session more than anything else. We have the captain's run on Tuesday and play on Wednesday. It is quite tight, we have our challenges and it does take a few days to get over the bumps and bruises of the previous game.

“But we always knew that was on the cards and we are happy preparing for it.”

The Boks will name their team to face the USA on Monday night.


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