SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus and Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber have delayed the call-up of Springbok wing Sbu Nkosi and flank Marco van Staden until the results of medical scans are available following rib injuries suffered by the pair in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship on Sunday.
The Vodacom Bulls registered a 40-27 victory against the Cell C Sharks in the clash.
Nkosi and Van Staden were named in Nienaber’s 35-man Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour against Ireland (5 November), France (12 November), Italy (19 November) and England (26 November), and were scheduled to depart for Dublin on Sunday night. However, they were forced to remain in South Africa for scans and medical assessments to determine the extent of their injuries.
Erasmus said: “We’ll wait for the outcome of their medical scans and once we know how serious it is we’ll decide if they will join the squad and if so, when. Fortunately, we have sufficient cover at loose forward and among the outside backs to allow us to train fully and select a quality team.”
The main Springbok touring group, meanwhile, arrived in Dublin late on Sunday night after their flight from Johannesburg to Dubai en route to Dublin was delayed by close to five hours, which resulted in a lengthy layover in Dubai before the team flew to Dublin.
The travelling squad joined the other 11 players (the DHL Stormers VURC players and the European and UK-based players) who arrived in Dublin on Sunday afternoon, while Cheslin Kolbe will join the team on Monday morning following Toulon’s 27-26 defeat against Bordeaux on Sunday night.
The Springbok coaches were forced to make a few changes to their Monday programme due to the flight delay to ensure that the players recover sufficiently from the long journey to Dublin, but fortunately for Erasmus and Nienaber the timely planning allowed the rugby programme for the day to remain intact.
“We are pleased to be in Dublin, and thanks to the swift planning from our operations team following the announcement that our flight to Dubai was delayed and the resultant longer layover in Dubai, we were able to ensure that the players remained as comfortable as possible throughout the journey,” said Erasmus. “The entire squad with the exception of the injured players and Cheslin reported for duty in Dublin on Sunday night and despite a few changes to our programme, we have a full training day on Monday.”
Nienaber added that efficient planning and the fact that Springbok assistant coach Felix Jones has been in Dublin since late last week made matters simpler for the rest of the coaching team by ensuring that they maximised the time with the 11 players who arrived earlier at the team hotel on Sunday.
“We were very fortunate that Felix joined the squad on Sunday as he had a golden opportunity to work with the DHL Stormers and overseas-based players on some detail while the rest of us were travelling,” said Nienaber. “We allowed the players additional recovery time on Monday morning to ensure that they are fresh when we take the field in our afternoon training session so we can leap straight into the thick of things.
“This is a massive Test for us as Ireland are the No 1 team in the world and we are also facing them in the pool stages of next year’s Rugby World Cup, so every minute of preparation time on and off the field counts.”
Nienaber will announce his matchday squad to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday.