Injury allows old firm opportunity

Adi Jacobs has been ruled out of the first Test meaning centres Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie will front the All Blacks.

Coach Peter de Villiers sent Jacobs home on Monday night after the Springbok medical team confirmed he would not recover from a groin injury in time for Saturday’s Test. Wynand Olivier trained with the Boks on Tuesday, but is likely to be used as a substitute should De Villiers or Fourie break down.

The Boks’ best midfield combination looked back to their best in Tuesday morning’s session, and it appears as if a great emphasis has been placed on backline communication, particularly on defence.

Fourie is clearly the loudest of the Bok backs, but he’s always been one who could walk the walk as well as talking the talk.

Ruan Pienaar ran with the first-string side while Morne Steyn got his chance later in a training exercise against the Free State U21s. Pienaar looks set to start while Steyn will warm the bench.

The only unknown at this stage is whether the Bok management will opt for a 5-2 split on the bench or the more traditional four forwards and three backs. In the event of the former, Ricky Januarie could be the man to sit out.

The Boks held nothing back when they ran against the Free State’s youngsters. One brave forward cut back against the tide and was duly smashed by Beast Mtawarira, much to the amusement of his mates on the sideline. He arrived at the subsequent scrum a bit groggy, but manfully played on.

The Bok team will be announced at 12:30pm today.

By Jon Cardinelli, at Shimla Park, Bloemfontein