Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth has a very good chance of recovering from his leg injury to lead the Springboks in their third Castle Lager Outgoing Tour match against Italy this weekend, the Springboks’ medical team confirmed on Monday.
“Eben left the field with about five minutes to go against France after receiving a direct blow to his lower leg,” Dr Konrad von Hagen, the team’s medical doctor, confirmed at a media briefing on Monday.
“The x-rays we did on Sunday all came out normal. We expect it just to be a soft tissue injury and will manage it accordingly. He has a good chance to play on Saturday.”
Malcolm Marx (hooker) will have follow-up examinations on Monday in Padova to further examine his shoulder injury.
“Malcolm had a direct blow to his shoulder during the match,” said Dr Von Hagen.
“Initial x-rays showed everything is normal, however, we will have a follow-up MRI scan later today just to look at the exact nature of the injury. We will make a call on his availability according to the nature of the results.”
There was good news concerning the recovery of versatile forward Pieter-Steph du Toit, with Dr Von Hagen confirming his concussion recovery is progressing well.
“Pieter-Steph is busy with the last steps of his return to play protocols but I expect him to be available for selection,” the team doctor added.
“A few players will sit out training on Monday, but that is just part of our recovery protocols and they will be fine.”
Springbok head coach Allister Coetzee was especially pleased to have Du Toit back in training: “It’s great to have Pieter-Steph back because he was excellent for us prior to the concussion.
“The whole idea for us this week is to play with our strongest possible team so that we can build more momentum and continuity.
“There will be opportunities for the wider group in the last match because that one falls outside the international window, which means that for the Wales Tests players based overseas, such as Duane Vermeulen (France), Francois Louw (England), Elton Jantjies and Franco Mostert (both Japan), will not be available for selection. That would obviously give opportunities for other players,” said Coetzee.
On Monday morning, the Springboks got their match preparation underway with a gym workout, with a field training session scheduled for later in the day in Padova. Coetzee will announce his match day squad on Thursday.