White’s centre headache

The injury to Andre Snyman has re-opened the door for De Wet Barry, who re-joins the Springbok squad in Cape Town today.

Snyman’s wrist is not broken as some reports speculated and he may be available to play against France at the weekend, but nevertheless white is taking no chances and has re-called his Tri-Nations-winning inside centre.

The Springboks take on the French in a once-off Test at Newlands in Cape Town and coach Jake White will be relieved after suffering a string of midfield injury woes recently.

Snyman’s X-rays revealed just soft tissue bruising and no break on his right wrist, but Barry has responded to the call and will be available if needed at the weekend.

White’s centre headache began when Marius Joubert was ruled out even before the camp in Bloemfontein. This was followed by Jean de Villiers fracturing ribs in the first Test win over Scotland in Durban.

De Villiers’ partner in midfield – Jaque Fourie – then also suffered rib damage in a training ground accident last week.

De Villiers is only expected back against Australia in the Boks’ first Tri-Nations match in Brisbane on 15 July at the earliest. Fourie though may be ready for the French, which would then allow White to go with the combination he initially wanted for Port Elizabeth – Wynand Olivier at inside and Fourie at outside.

Fourie will be assessed later this week, but the player himself has indicated he is ready to resume his place in the starting line-up.

Olivier may be rewarded for his solid start at Test level with another start against France, but White may be reluctant to give the youngster the No 12 jersey and may opt for the experience of Barry who has 38 Tests under his belt.

Another option White is keen to see in action is putting Bryan Habana at outside centre – he played there after Snyman was substituted against Scotland. If he tries that then either Barry or Olivier could partner him.

He will give it plenty of thought as the French midfield pair of Jannick Jauzion and Damien Traille – who will likely oppose the Boks on Saturday – is regarded by many pundits as the best centre combination in world rugby.

By Andrew Hollely