SA’s front row woes continue

Bismarck du Plessis and Gurthro Steenkamp are two casualties from the Springboks’ narrow 14-10 win over Scotland.

Du Plessis left the field after four minutes with what has been confirmed as a pulled hamstring while Steenkamp limped off late in the second period with a sprained ankle. Bok manager Arthob Petersen told both players will undergo further tests in the next 48 hours and their availability for the England Test will be made public on Monday.

Captain John Smit admitted Du Plessis’s early departure affected the Boks’ synergy in the set pieces. The injury saw Smit reverting to hooker with substitute Brian Mujati playing tighthead, and it also meant Smit throwing in at the lineout.

“It’s not ideal to lose Fourie du Preez on Thursday and then lose Bismarck so early in the game,” Smit told this website. “We spoke about getting some continuity going with myself at 3 but obviously we couldn’t do that. I could also hardly see when I was throwing in the lineout [Smit took a knock to the head early in the game.]”

The Boks were drilled in the scrums with Scotland prop Euan Murray eventually taking the man of the match honours. This effort doesn’t bode well for England next week, and should Du Plessis and Steenkamp fail to recover the Boks will start with a different front row combination at Twickenham.

If Du Plessis fails a fitness test, it will be interesting to see whether De Villiers persists with Smit at tighthead and gives young Bulls hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle a start against England. Another option is to retain the front row that played after Du Plessis pulled his hamstring in Edinburgh.