The Springboks have been dealt a big blow ahead of their crucial clash against New Zealand in Albany on Saturday, with the news that flanker Jaco Kriel has been ruled out of the match.
The all-action flanker, who has picked up eleven caps since his test debut last year, felt discomfort in his shoulder after his side’s draw with Australia last Saturday and a scan on Monday revealed that the 28 year-old had suffered a labrum tear(via Sports24). Thus, he will not play any part in this coming weekend’s clash with the All Blacks and is expected fly home to South Africa in the next few days.
The Lions back-rower has been in fine form this season with his excellent work at the breakdown, his high tackle count and his relentless ball carrying catching the eye, and has played an important role in South Africa’s improved fortunes this season.
South Africa’s back row has really impressed in the last three weeks with Kriel, Uzair Cassiem and Siya Kolisi proving to be a very effective trio.
With South Africa’s management deciding not to call anyone else up, due to the feeling that they have enough back-row cover, young Sharks flanker Jean-Luc du Preez is tipped to replace Kriel in the Bok’s starting XV.
The powerful 22-year-old, who stands at 6’4 and weighs in at nearly 18 stone, has earned seven caps since his Bok debut last year.
Unbeaten this year, Allister Coetzee’s team currently lie in second place in the championship on 11 points, 3 points behind leaders New Zealand, after two wins and a draw.
South Africa, whose last victory over the All Blacks was in 2014 in a thriller at Ellis Park, desperately need a win on Saturday to keep their title hopes alive.
To compound their woes, prop Coenie Oosthuizen is also out of this weekend’s game after breaking his arm against the Wallabies.
The Sharks prop had been enjoying a fine championship, with his strong scrummaging an important part of a much-improved South Africa scrum.
Stormers prop Wilco Louw has arrived in New Zealand to take Oosthuizen’s place in the front-row.