Muller concern for Boks

Lock Johann Muller didn’t participate at the Springboks’ training session in Ravensmead on Friday.

Muller was seen stretching his leg before practice commenced on Friday morning, but didn’t take part in the defensive drills or in the part of the session where the Boks ran as a team.

He later ran on his own in the in-goal area after massaging what appeared to be a hamstring problem. When the forwards packed down for their scrumming sessions, Muller cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines.

The Boks lined up much as they had in Thursday’s session, with the exception of Alistair Hargreaves standing in for Muller. Ashley Johnson ran at No 8 ahead of Ryan Kankowski, although Pierre Spies may reclaim his starting position when returning from a holiday in Italy. In that event, the Boks will boast an all-Bulls back row with Deon Stegmann and Danie Rossouw on the flanks.

Coenie Oosthuizen was at the session at Florida Park but didn’t train at all. While he didn’t wear any protective gear on the problem ankle, he did show some discomfort when walking across the pitch to watch his team-mates scrum.

Fullback Zane Kirchner was absent from the practice, and is supposedly struggling with injury. Coach Peter de Villiers will name his Tri-Nations squad for the two away matches on Friday afternoon, and confirm the severity of these injuries.

The Boks have three flyhalf options in Morne Steyn, Pat Lambie and Elton Jantjies, and all three had an opportunity to run at No 10 on Friday. Steyn looks to be the favourite to start, and given that Lambie also ran at fullback, he could be considered as an alternative to Gio Aplon on the Boks’ tour.

By Jon Cardinelli, at Tygerberg Rugby Club