JOHANNESBURG — When Sharks eighth-man Jean-Luc du Preez limped off the field in the first half of the Currie Cup final on Saturday and was ruled out of the Springboks’ end-of-year tour yesterday, a number of loose forwards might have fancied their chances of a last-minute call-up. The media speculation was that uncapped Lions flanker Kwagga Smith might get the nod, while there were also suggestions that Toulon no.8 Duane Vermeulen might have recovered from his groin injury in time for the tour. But in the end, coach Allister Coetzee has decided to go with another lock in Sharks’ skipper Ruan Botha. – David O’Sullivan
From SA Rugby
The Springboks have called up Ruan Botha as a replacement for the injured Jean-Luc du Preez, who suffered a fractured ankle in Saturday’s Currie Cup final in Durban.
Botha, the Cell C Sharks’ skipper, will join the Springbok squad on Tuesday afternoon in Johannesburg. The group assembled on Monday and will use the week in Gauteng to prepare for their month-long Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.
It was decided to bolster the group with another lock as the squad currently has sufficient cover amongst the loose forwards, according to Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee.
“Ruan has played consistently well this year and has been part of our training camps,” said Coetzee.
“He has led the Cell C Sharks to the Currie Cup and the Vodacom Super Rugby playoffs this season and is not only a consistently good performer, but also a strong leader.
“Franco Mostert is not available for the Welsh Test as it falls outside the international window, and the tour gives us a good chance to work with Ruan while he also familiarises himself further with the Springbok environment.
“With Pieter-Steph du Toit that can also perform well at flank as well as the addition of Oupa Mohoje to the loose forwards, we believe that we have sufficient cover at blindside flank.”
The Springboks will fly out to Dublin at the end of the week in two groups, for their Tests against Ireland, France, Italy and Wales.