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 supersport.com 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’
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
“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
“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
The Boks will name their team to face the USA on Monday