Boks made to sweat on Coetzee and Matfield as injury list mounts

The defeated Springboks are waiting on injuries to Marcell Coetzee and Victor Matfield ahead of their clash with New Zealand on Saturday.
The two influential forwards were replaced in the Rugby Championship opener against the Wallabies, with Coetzee picking up a knee injury and Matfield sustaining a hamstring strain in the 24-20 loss.
A bruising encounter turned into a nightmare in Brisbane as Tevita Kuridrani scored a last-gasp try to snatch away victory from the Boks, after Matfield’s second row partner Eben Etzebeth had given the ‘Boks a half-time lead.
Head coach Heyneke Meyer is already short in the lock department, thus has made the move to call up Flip van der Merwe to add experience to the rookie set of Franco Mostert, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Lood de Jager. The latter two are set to undergo fitness tests of their own on Monday as they near the end of recuperating from long-term injuries.
Team doctor Craig Roberts revealed in Johannesburg: “Both (Coetzee and Matfield) are doubtful to play this weekend, but luckily neither of them are in doubt to miss the Rugby World Cup.”
“Jannie du Plessis and Schalk Burger also picked up knocks in Brisbane on Saturday and we will reassess them at our first training session of the week, on Tuesday. Apart from a lot of bumps and bruises, the rest of the squad should be fit for selection,” added Roberts.
While Meyer may be unsettled by serious injuries to Willem Alberts and Duane Vermeulen; he was pleased to have van der Merwe make a U-turn on his decision to retire from International duty after signing for Clermont earlier this year.
“Flip is very experienced and can cover both lock positions, so it made sense to pro-actively assess our options and bring him in.”
“We’ve had a great discussion and he has made himself available to play for the Springboks, which I’m very grateful for. Flip has always put his body on the line for the Boks and it will be great to have him back in the fold,” Meyer said.
by Adam Ellis

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