Who will start at hooker for the Boks in Marx’s absence?

Malcolm Marx may only be available for the last test against England in June after suffering a high grade hamstring tear, but what does this mean for the Boks in terms of hooker selection?

Marx suffered the injury in the Lions clash against the Hurricanes in Wellington and was flown back to Cape Town to have scans done. While he will not require surgery, the hooker will be sidelined for a likely six weeks, as his hamstring recovers.

It is thus doubtful that Marx will be able to play a role in the test against Wales and the first two tests against England.

This leaves Rassie Erasmus with an unforeseen headache, as Marx’s selection as the starting hooker was one of the certainties.

Erasmus has made clear the value he sees in certain overseas players, with Bismarck Du Plessis likely to be in the mix, but only for the latter part of the England series.

Du Plessis and club teammate Frans Steyn will be unavailable at the start of June should Montpellier advance to the Top 14 final (to be played on June 2nd)

There is then the possibility that former Springbok captain and Bulls in-form hooker Adriaan Strauss could return as a short-term solution.

Strauss retired from international rugby but may be persuaded to come out of retirement to help South Africa, even if only for the three Tests against England.

Strauss this season has been playing some of the best rugby under (Bulls coach) John Mitchell. His conditioning and fitness have also been a feature of his game.

Strauss’s willingness to return, accompanied with his form and fitness at the Bulls as well as his international experience makes him the most likely option come the opening of the series against England.

Whilst the Springboks will miss the explosive and powerful Marx, who has been one of the top tournament hookers in Super Rugby this year, and was named SA Rugby player of the year last year, they are not without quality back up options.

 

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