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JOHANNESBURG — Bok 8thman Warren Whiteley is still battling with a groin injury, and with Duane Vermeulen committed to the Kubota Spears in Japan, the Springboks have some uncertainties at the back of the scrum. Sikhumbuzo Notshe did the job against the Wallabies and turned in a solid performance. But coach Rassie Erasmus substituted him surprisingly early in the second half after just five minutes, and brought on Marco van Staden who didn’t make much of an impression. No surprise then that Francois Louw returned post haste to the Bok camp. After playing in the famous Wellington victory over the All Blacks, replacing Siya Kolisi in the second half, Louw then returned to club duties for Bath in the Premiership. He missed the Saturday game against Northampton, but was on the flank as Bath lost to Saracens away on Wednesday. He was released by his coach, former All Black Todd Blackadder, who clearly appreciates that Louw would be desperate to be available for selection against New Zealand at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday. Louw is not an automatic selection for Saturday’s squad, as Whiteley’s fitness for the match is still being assessed. – David O’Sullivan
From SA Rugby
Experienced flanker Francois Louw re-joined the Springbok squad on Monday in Pretoria following a two week stay at his English Premiership club side Bath.
The flanker returned to the United Kingdom immediately after the Springboks’ win over the All Blacks in Wellington.
Following his most recent club rugby commitments over the weekend, Louw re-joined the Springboks in Pretoria where the squad is busy with preparations for this coming Saturday’s final Castle Lager Rugby Championship match against the All Blacks at Loftus Versfeld.
Meanwhile, Siya Kolisi and his Springbok team mates started with their match preparations on Monday in the South African capital city. The entire squad had a good morning workout in the gymnasium and later on they had their first training run at a sun-baked Loftus Versfeld.
Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby, will announce his match-23 on Thursday.
South Africa and New Zealand will face each other in front of a capacity crowd after tickets were sold out a few weeks ago already for the highly anticipated Loftus clash.