Juan in doubt

Juan Smith may miss the Springbok’s first match against England due to a calf injury sustained against Ireland.

The Free State blindside completed the game unhindered, but it has been confirmed that he was unable to train with the Boks in Bath on Monday. Media Manager Vusi Kama said that Smith’s right calf is currently being treated, and chances are he will not start at Twickenham in six days time.

Smith has struggled with injuries throughout the season, missing most of the Vodacom Super 14 with a groin ailment and the home leg of the Tri-Nations due to a hamstring injury. He did not have a good game against the Irish, but the major concern for Jake White now is who will fill the gap left at No 7.

Danie Rossouw was selected at lock for the tour but started in Dublin at flank. Pierre Spies is likely to retain his place at eighth man, which leaves space for one of Hilton Lobberts or Jacques Cronje to come in on the blindside.

Cronje is likely to be the favourite, with big match experience a huge plus for this must win encounter against the Poms, who find themselves in a similarly desperate position.

White’s decision to take only four specialist loose forwards on tour, including one who is yet to earn a Test cap, will come into question if the Boks lose on Saturday. As the situation stands, the loose forward selection is unfathomable, with some of the best fetchers in the world being left at home.

By Jon Cardinelli, in London