Pietersen still in doubt

JP Pietersen did not train with the Springboks on Wednesday and will face a final fitness test on Thursday.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers had been forced to postpone the first training session of this quarter-final week to Wednesday, and the bad news for the Boks is that Pietersen is still not up an running. The winger injured his quad in last Friday’s clash against Samoa, and is doubtful for Sunday’s play-off at the Wellington Regional Stadium.

The Boks will announce their 22 to tackle the Aussies on Thursday at 07:00 New Zealand time (Wednesday at 20:00 SA time), and Pietersen should be listed in the starting line-up. However, that team announcement will not mean much in terms of his progress, and he will only undergo the final fitness test later in the day.

‘I feel confident that I will be ready,’ Pietersen said on Wednesday. ‘I haven’t run yet and there is still a lot of pain, but we will have to see how it goes tomorrow.

‘If there is still a lot of discomfort, I may have to do what’s best for the team and drop out. You don’t want to be at only 80% of your ability in a game like this.’

If Pietersen is unavailable, Francois Hougaard should take his place on the right wing.

By Jon Cardinelli, in Wellington