Injury woes for De Villiers

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers is consulting the medical teams of the Super 14 franchises in order to obtain a comprehensive assessment the current spate of injuries to his players.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers is consulting the medical teams of the Super 14 franchises in order to obtain a comprehensive assessment the current spate of injuries to his players.

At present several players expected to be involved in the three-Test Castle South Africa 2009 Lions Series are either injured or doubtful to start their matches this weekend.

Fullback Conrad Jantjes is definitely ruled out with a broken leg.

"I regularly speak to the Super 14 squads' medical people regarding injured players," De Villiers said. "Injury assessments are done on Mondays and Tuesdays and will give us a clearer picture on the state of affairs.

"At this stage there is early speculation that certain players will not play at the weekend but there is still a chance that they will be cleared once the assessments are complete. In some cases it might be better for players to sit out even if they are declared fit, to allow them more time to recover," he said.

De Villiers said an increase in injuries at this stage of the Super 14 was not unexpected.

"The Vodacom Super 14 is a tough competition and we expected that injuries might affect our selection for the Lions Series," said de Villiers.

"For that reason we never cast anything in stone even though there are players incumbent in certain positions who would in all likelihood be included in a starting XV.

"The fact that some of these players are currently beset by injury is a concern but I do not want to draw any conclusions until I have consulted with the respective medical teams and have a full understanding of the extent of each injury and the recovery prognosis," he said.

Commenting on the serious injury to Jantjes, De Villiers said: "It is always upsetting when a player that is in the driving seat is injured, as is the case with Conrad [Jantjes] and others like Jean de Villiers.

"The loss of Conrad is a blow to us and especially for him as it rules him out for some time," de Villiers said.

De Villiers added that the loss of Jantjes would not disrupt the selection process as he was confident there were enough players available who could fill the fullback berth.

"If we had picked our starting XV in March I would be concerned, but we agreed that we would take stock after the Super 14 and base our selection on the best available players in each position who we believe can take on the British and Irish Lions," de Villiers said. - Sapa

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