There was a batch of good news for South Africa on Monday, following their bruising victory over Wales at the weekend.
Fears that flyhalf Johan Goosen could face another lengthy injury-enforced lay-off have been allayed.
Despite lasting just five minutes, after coming on as a second half replacement in the Springboks’ 38-16 (five tries to one) demolition of Wales in Durban at the weekend, the knee injury does not seem as serious as first thought.
Bok team doctor Craig Roberts revealed Goosen might even be available to face Wales in the return Test in Nelspruit this coming Saturday.
The young flyhalf took a knock to the outside of his knee soon after coming on for Morné Steyn in the 69th minute and left the field soon afterwards.
“We were obviously a bit concerned about the knee, as it is a knee he had an ACL re-construction done on,” Roberts told a media briefing in Nelspruit on Monday.
“We pulled him off, but thankfully he settled down quite nicely.
“He had some scans today [Monday], which are quite good.
“We’ll make a decision on his availability later in the week,” the doctor said, adding that Goosen’s injury has “progressed quite nicely”.
Following a match in which the ball was in play for a Bok record 39 minutes, the rest of the squad had no more than the usual “bumps and bruises”, with some minor concerns over fullback Willie le Roux and lock Bakkies Botha.
South Africa, who had to make over 130 tackles compared to the 200 of the Welsh, are fortunate to have no major worries.
“There was a lot of rugby played and as expected quite a few bumps and bruises – most of them are minor,” the team doctor said.
The star fullback, Le Roux, took a knock to the outside of his thigh in the first half, but he soldiered on.
“Towards the middle of the second half he stiffened up,” Roberts said of the bruising on the leg muscle, adding: “He came off more as a precaution than anything else.
Le Roux is “settling quite nicely” and while he won’t train on Monday, he should be available for the second Test this coming weekend.
Botha was pulled off after half-time, because the high intensity level of the game resulted in his Achilles and calf flaring up a little bit.
“There was a bit of fatiguing on the one leg,” the doctor said, adding: “It was more of a precaution than anything else that we decided to make the change at half-time.”
He said they were lucky to have so few injuries, given the intensity of the match.
“You look at exposure,” Roberts said, adding: “The more exposure there is the higher the risk of injuries.
“It does mean that this week we need to taper back a bit – it [the game] placed a big load on the guys.
“Our training times will be cut back a bit. You do expect bumps and bruises, that is part of rugby – it is now a case of managing the players.”
Others who did not train on Monday, as part of the management process, are prop Jannie du Plessis and No.8 Duane Vermeulen – both because of the volume of rugby played in the last couple of months.