Boks boosted by Etzebeth prognosis

Eben Etzebeth is likely to be available to play in the Springboks’ Rugby Championship opener against Argentina at Newlands next weekend.

Etzebeth is carrying a hip injury that was initially feared to be serious, but after consultation with a Johannesburg specialist on Tuesday those fears were allayed.

Etzebeth will undergo functional field testing on Monday after which a call on his readiness will be made. ‘Eben has responded very well to treatment thus far and we are confident that he will be available for the first Test against Argentina,’ team doctor Craig Roberts said.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said: ‘Eben is an asset for South African and Western Province rugby. I have full confidence in our medical team and we will always put the player’s future welfare first when we make a final decision, but I’m happy that the news on Eben is good.’

Lions lock Franco van der Merwe and Toulon’s Bakkies Botha have been put on standby should Etzebeth fail to recover.