Steyn’s season over

The Sharks have been dealt a devastating blow to their play off hopes with Springbok Frans Steyn being ruled out Rugby Injuryof action for the rest of the season.

Steyn underwent emergency surgery after injuring his leg against the 25 – 22 Loss to the Highlanders last weekend and while there was no break the Bok has been in severe pain.

New Zealand doctors have diagnosed the problem as “compartment syndrome” which is a build-up of pressure in the limb which needed to be relieved.

Steyn is due to fly home on Thursday after another procedure to close the wound.

This means that Steyn will miss the rest of the Super Rugby season, but he may be availible for selection for the Springboks Rugby Championship side.

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Sharks sweating over the return of Bismarck

InjuryJust weeks away from the opening round of the 2013 Super Rugby season and the Sharks are still not sure whether Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis will recover in time to start the campaign.

The Springbok and Sharks hard man had surgery to repair a torn knee ligament in August last year after injury on Test duty. Du Plessis was expected to return to play in time for the start of Super Rugby, however reports from the Durban franchise say that his recovery is going “slower than expected”.

“Unfortunately, we do have a couple of niggles, especially in the front row. The only major one is Bismarck du Plessis, who will miss some game time.” Said Sharks assistant coach Grant Bashford.

Fellow front rower, prop Dale Chadwick is also likely to miss the first match of Super Rugby due to a stress fracture in his foot.

On the brighter side, Springbok Frans Steyn will make his return from an ankle injury in time for the first match of the season.

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Steyn ready but Sharks still waiting on Bismarck

The good news for the Natal Sharks is that Springbok utility back Frans Steyn is set to make a comeback to the from an ankle Injuryinjury sustained in June last year, however they are still unsure about the availability of their wrecking ball Bismarck du Plessis.

Steyn looks ready to make his first Super Rugby start for the Sharks since 2010 after returning from a two year stint with French club Racing Metro. Steyn made a big impact when returning to play for the Springboks in 2012 and will be looking to build on that and ultimately cement his place once again in the national set up.

The Sharks Springbok hooker who seriously damaged his right knee in their opening game of the Rugby Championships last year is still undergoing rehab for the injury and according to captain Keegan Daniels, may not be ready for the opening game of the season.

“Frans ran this morning and is doing pretty well, he’s right on schedule but Bismarck will take a bit longer, he had a big injury, but the medical team is working hard with him. The first week is always really tough as the guys get back into it, there’s a lot of hard work to be done with Super Rugby just around the corner and we obviously want to get out of the starting blocks as quickly as possible,” explained Daniel.

Daniels also commented on his team’s commitment and enthusiasm in training so far showing their excitement for the season ahead.

“The mood was good and there’s a buzz with all the guys catching up again, but we all know why we are here and what we want to achieve this season.”

Despite reaching both the Super Rugby and Currie Cup finals, the Durban based team failed to take home any silverware, but Daniels insists that valuable lessons were learned from 2012.

“We were consistent in the fact that we made finals, but in terms of our performances we probably weren’t as consistent as we would have liked, We slipped up at times in the last competition, which put us under pressure towards the end. We want to be a lot more consistent in the way we perform in the games early on this season.” he said.

He also insisted the he himself had grown into the captains role and will be more prepared to lead the team in 2013.

“I learnt quite a bit and grew as well, but I continuously want to keep on learning and growing as a leader. A new season comes with new challenges, and I’m keen to meet them head on. But like Jean [de Villiers] always said, you can’t steer the ship on your own, you need support, and I think there is a good support group below me.” concluded Daniels.

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Mapoe gets Bok call up

The Golden Lions star utility back Lionel Mapoe has finally been rewarded for years of hard work with a call up to the Springbok squad ahead of the final test against the All Blacks in Soweto on Saturday.

Mapoe who most is known for his prowess on the wing has made a slick transition to centre under Lions stand in Coach Johann Ackermann in 2012 and will be the fifth Lions player to be included in the Rugby Championship squad – not bad for a team who no longer plays Super Rugby!

Mapoe joins team mates Elton Jantjies, Jaco Taute, Patric Cilliers and CJ van der Linde in Hyeneke Meyrs squad. Mapoe replaces injured veteran Frans Steyn in the squad.

While Mapoe’d inclusion in the match day 22 is a long shot as he is still behind Juan de Jonge in the mid field pecking order, if Zane Kirchner’s injury rules him out of the test and a Pat Lambie starts all of a sudden there is an open space for the Lions speedster’s possible first cap.

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Springbok prop’s career in danger

Coenie Oosthuizen is one of the next generation of Springbok stars. He has had an exceptional Currie Cup and Super Rugby career and is on the cusp of being a Springbok regular.

However after a lingering neck injury has made him withdraw from play once more his team doctors are growing in their concern for his playing future.

The 23 year old Cheetah first sustained this neck injury during the Currie Cup last year and was side lined for the rest of the competition and much of the 2012 Super Rugby season. On his return, his good play earned him his first Bok call up against the English in June, but the injury came back to haunt him after just the first test.

Before his recall to the Bok squad two weeks ago, Coenie had played just 40 minutes fo Currie Cup rugby to prove his fitness, but after a week training with the national squad he was ruled out with a “stiff neck”.

The Springbok doctor Craig Roberts has confirmed that after the prop was removed from the Springbok squad he was send to Durban for a second opinion on the flaring injury.

“I’ve not been completely happy with his neck, as he still showed symptoms after having played in the Currie Cup last weekend…We’re seeking another opinion as we need to make the right decision for his career. Coenie is a young player and potentially he has a long career ahead of him, so long term we need to make the right decisions and can’t put him at risk in any way.” Said Roberts.

Other injury news from the Springbok camp is that centre Frans Steyn will have surgery after aggravating an old ankle injury during training in the build-up to the Loftus test. Roberts has confirmed reports that Steyn will miss up to three months of rugby.

“We’ve been doing a number of scans and seeing specialists, there is quite few loose bodies [bone fragments] in the joint, little pieces of bone that in time have broken of in the ankle, Every now and then bones catch into the joint and causes excruciating pain. It can also damage the joint…It was taken as long term decision, it will be done [the surgery] on Wednesday, and unfortunately keep him out for three months, also for end of year tour.” Roberts explained.

Springbok Flyhalf Johan Goosen and fullback Zane Kirchner sat out of training yesterday due to minor injuries and will be tested for fitness later in the week, however flank Jaques Potgieter has been ruled out due to an abdominal strain.

Team sheets to be posted later in the week.

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Springboks lose Frans Steyn and Coenie Oosthuizen ahead of Aussie clash

Late changes in the Springbok team to face the Wallabies tomorrow in Pretoria sees injured Frans Steyn  and Coenie Oosthuizen being replaced by Jaco Toute and Pat Cilliers.

Steyn failed a late fitness test earlier today after suffering an ankle injury at training on Friday. This means Captain Jean de Villiers shifts to his more comfortable inside centre and Toute takes the role of outside center on his debut.

This means that Juan de Jonge gets the nod to start from the bench, a strange selection because the experienced Stormers centre has had a cracking year and has proven his worth to the Springboks over the last two years. There is no doubting Toute’s ability, but this is a test match. Jean de Villiers and Juan de Jonge have partnered in the centres at WP and the Stormers for the past few seasons and the logical choice would be to start that combination. Then bring Toute on in the second half and ease him into the test arena.

Oosthuizen has been ruled out with a “stiff neck” after only recovering from the neck injury sustained in the June tests against England.  The big prop has not fully recovered from the neck issues that he felt after his second half comeback game for the Cheetahs last week. Lions prop Pat Cilliers comes into the squad for another crack at test rugby.

The Springboks host the Wallabies at Loftus on Saturday, KO 17:00 CAT (16:00 GMT)

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South African – revised: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Elton Jantjies, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22 Pat Lambie.

Frans Steyn recovering well

Springbok coach Heyeke Meyer will be pleased to see that his star center Frans Steyn is recovering well from right ankle injury.

The big centre was on crutches on Monday at practicebut after x-rays last night the team doctor has given him the go ahead to attend training on Wednesday.

“The x-rays were clear and the swelling has settled nicely. We’re hoping to get him to do some training on Wednesday,” said Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts.

Steyn injured his ankle during a team warm up on Monday and has been side-lined since then, fans will be hopeful that the powerful runner will recover sufficiently to start the match against the Ausies on Saturday.

Other injury concerns in the squad include; lock Flip van der Merwe (calf), flank Jacques Potgieter (groin) and wing Lwazi Mvovo (hamstring). They will be tested for fitness later in the week.

However three other players that were absent from training on Monday; props Tendai Mtawarira (stomach bug) and Coenie Oosthuizen (muscle stiffness) and flyhalf Johan Goosen, all made appearances on the practice field earlier today.

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