Rugby Championship

Wounded Boks' depth to be tested

2015-07-19 11:30
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo)

Brisbane - South Africa's squad depth will be tested ahead of this week's Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand after picking up injuries in their heart-breaking loss to the Wallabies, coach Heyneke Meyer said on Sunday.

Crestfallen by their 24-20 loss to Australia on the last play of their match in Brisbane on Saturday, the Springboks are also licking their wounds from the game.

Captain and lineout general Victor Matfield was forced off with a hamstring strain midway through the first half and flank Marcell Coetzee suffered a knee injury in the final stages.

Prop Jannie du Plessis also came off the field following a head knock and flank Francois Louw suffered a nasty cut to his mouth.

All the injured players will be re-assessed by the Springbok medical team in Johannesburg on Monday, the team said.

Matfield and Coetzee will be in a race against time to be fit to face New Zealand in Johannesburg on Saturday.

"There were lots of hard knocks out there and all these injuries will certainly test our depth, but the guys next in line will have to show what they've got and stand up next Saturday," Meyer said.

"We're already without experienced players such as Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez, Duane Vermeulen and Willem Alberts, but we always wanted to use the Tests in the Rugby Championship to see what depth we have and there will probably be more changes next week."

Meyer said it was another heart-breaking loss to the Wallabies after losing in similar fashion last year.

"It's heart-breaking to lose like that for a second year running in Australia, but we simply can't dwell on it and have to take some harsh but valuable lessons to heart," Meyer said.

"Losing our captain early was tough and we finished the match with eight players who were playing in their 10th Test or fewer than that.

"It's not an excuse - we will all be better for it and we will have to look at ways to overcome this.

"Although we played some brilliant rugby at times, our execution also let us down and I think we left two tries out there, right at the end of the first half and midway through the second.

"We probably lacked some experience at the end when we needed to close the match, but we've said from the word go this season that we wanted to use our five matches in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup to get ready."

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