Frans Steyn will undergo an ankle operation on Wednesday that will rule him out of rugby for the rest of 2012.
Steyn sustained the injury in training last week, and was not considered for the Test against Australia at Loftus Versfeld. The latest news from the Bok medical team is that Steyn’s injury is serious, and that immediate surgery is the best course of action in the context of his long-term career.
‘We made the decision to have the surgery, to get in there and clean it out properly,’ said Bok team doctor Craig Roberts. ‘He will be out for three months, which is a blow in terms of the coming game [against the All Blacks] and the end-of-year tour, but we felt it’s a good decision in the long-term.
‘Frans is a youngster and can play 60 more Tests if we manage him well. This is the right thing to do. We will get him into good shape before the 2013 season, and he will enjoy a full pre-season programme.’
Meanwhile, prop Coenie Oosthuizen won’t be available for the next Test against the All Blacks. Oosthuizen recently made his comeback from a neck injury, but Roberts is not happy that the prop has completely recovered. Roberts said the Boks will seek the advice of a specialist this week to determine whether Oosthuizen needs more time on the sideline.
Flank Jacques Potgieter picked up an abdominal strain when he played for the Bulls last week, and so is also unavailable for the Boks.
Of those that were hurt in last Saturday’s Test in Pretoria, fullback Zane Kirchner is the biggest concern. Kirchner came out of that clash with a bruised hip, the result of colliding with Wallabies centre Adam Ashley-Cooper’s head when he attempted to score a try.
Kirchner did not train with the Boks at St Peters College on Monday, but Roberts said the Boks would give Kirchner another two days to recover before making a call on his availability.
Bok coach Heyneke Meyer said on Monday that he wouldn’t change the starting line-up this week unless he had to. If Kirchner is fit, he will play at fullback. If he fails to recover sufficiently, Pat Lambie will wear the No 15 jersey.
Flyhalf Johan Goosen (ankle) didn’t train either on Monday, but Roberts said this was precautionary more than anything else.
The same applied to prop Jannie du Plessis and flank Willem Alberts, who did not take part in any of the training drills but are expected to be fit for the Rugby Championship finale at Soccer City.
Utility back Lionel Mapoe and loose forward Arno Botha have been called up to provide cover.
‘Seeing that Willem is also not 100% at the moment, we only have three fit loose forwards in the squad and needed someone to provide cover at blindside flank and No 8, which is why Arno is coming to join us. He was part of our Young Guns squad in June as has been in our plans before,’ said Meyer.
‘Lionel has been in great form lately and apart from providing cover in the midfield, he can also be used on the wing if necessary.’
By Jon Cardinelli, in Johannesburg