Boks sweat on wingers

Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen are in danger of missing the quarter-final against Australia on Sunday.

Bryan Habana suffered a blow to his thigh in the Tests against Samoa in Auckland on Friday and the injury is taking longer than expected to heal. Pietersen has sustained a knee injury.

‘We’re pretty worried about our two wingers,’ coach Peter de Villiers said. ‘Hopefully the longer week will help us to get them right for the quarter-final.’

De Villiers, however, reported that there were no other injury concerns. He said lock Bakkies Botha, who has suffered with an Achilles injury, was ‘fine’, while Francois Hougaard, who received a heavy blow to the head against Samoa, will be available for selection.

De Villiers said last week that he wouldn’t risk Botha if he wasn’t completely healed. He will start Botha if he is fully fit, with Danie Rossouw playing off the wood. Hougaard will start on the wing if either Habana or Pietersen fails to recover, otherwise he will be deployed as an impact player.

With Frans Steyn ruled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury, Jean de Villiers will resume his midfield partnership with Jaque Fourie. Pat Lambie is likely to be retained at fullback, with Gio Aplon expected to provide cover for wing and fullback on the bench.