Springboks Duane Vermeulen, Damian de Allende and Lionel Mapoe were all ruled out of the first Castle Lager Incoming Series Test against France because of injury, it was confirmed on Monday.
Vermeulen picked up a shoulder injury while leading French club side Toulon in the Top 14 final on Sunday evening against Clermont. The experienced Springbok loose forward will undergo further examinations when he joins up with the Springbok squad on Tuesday in Pretoria.
De Allende is still covering from the quad contusion he sustained while playing for the DHL Stormers in the last round of Vodacom Super Rugby action.
Mapoe, meanwhile, is currently struggling with a hamstring strain and is in his final stage of rehabilitation. He will be managed carefully during this week’s training, according to Springbok coach Allister Coetzee. However, the midfielder will not be considered for selection for this coming Saturday’s first of three Tests with the French.
“Duane will still join us on Tuesday and our team doctor will then assess him further, while he may also see a specialist to determine the severity of the injury,” said Coetzee.
“He is a world-class player and his injury is a blow not only because of his experience, but also because of his knowledge of playing with the French players. Having said that, our training has been good and I am happy with the progress and the attitude of the players at our camps.”
Coetzee explained that because of the injury to Vermeulen and the fact that Francois Hougaard, the Worcester Warriors scrumhalf, only joined the Bok squad on Monday morning, it means he might in all likelihood select a local-based team starting line-up against the powerful French.
Meanwhile, the Springboks held their first training run on Monday afternoon at Affies, close to Loftus Versfeld, where they will also practice on Tuesday. Coetzee will announce his match 23 on Thursday afternoon.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications