Mtawarira set to miss clash against Wales

Springbok prop Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira. Picture credits: Gallo Images
Springbok prop Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira. Picture credits: Gallo Images

Springbok loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira looks likely to miss next weekend’s clash against Wales at the Principality Stadium.

Mtawarira was helped off the field in the first half in the Springboks’ convincing victory over Italy.

“We have to make sure (by Sunday)‚" he said.

"I’m not too positive about it.

"Hopefully we get better news.

"It’s his quad‚ close to the groin area‚” he said about his most experienced player’s injury.

Mtawarira won’t be the only starter from the match against Italy to miss out next week.

The clash falls outside the international window which means No8 Duane Vermeulen‚ flank Francois Louw‚ lock Franco Mostert and flyhalf Elton Jantjies return to their northern hemisphere based clubs.

At this stage it looks unlikely that a replacement will be summoned for Mtawarira.

To lose three forwards with a total of 194 caps will take its toll on any team but the Boks will get Siya Kolisi back from paternity leave.

The team‚ however‚ have a bit to work with following this performance.

They fronted up to the physical challenge and they remained calm and composed when they needed to.

They also have key players showing the form that made them Springboks in the first place. No one exemplified that more than flyhalf Handre Pollard.

“Handre was really good‚” Coetzee said about the man of the match.

“He’s a physical flyhalf.

"These conditions suit his game because he can take it to the line.

"It makes a difference because if you have a passing 10 it allows the opposition’s line speed to catch you behind the advantage line.

“You can also clearly see he made a massive step up in terms of his goalkicking.

“He’s a typical flyhalf putting the pieces together slowly but surely.

"I’m pleased with the confidence he is busy building at the moment.”

Pollard was more modest about his achievement in atrocious conditions.

“It was a great team effort.

"On the defence we were outstanding.

"The forwards provided a great platform.

"Based on that‚ we could make good decisions.

“Defensively we fought for each other.

"That’s the mean thing‚ if we keep fighting like this for each other we can go places. That was a great effort.

“Earlier on the tour we spoke about learning quickly and adapting.

"We learnt that against Ireland in similar conditions‚ although not entirely the same.

"We were a lot calmer.

"Everyone just made better decisions.

"We worked flippin’ hard for each other. That’s the secret in weather like that.

“It’s about who works hardest and who puts their bodies on the line. We did that.”

With Jantjies departing the scene Pollard may have Curwin Bosch behind him as back-up this week.

Like Pollard‚ Bosch’s confidence also took a knock earlier in the season but he too may get the opportunity to end the year with a flourish.