Arendse, Moodie and others to miss Wales and first Ireland test

Bok coach Rassie Erasmus also confirmed a few names that have been circulating with longer term injuries.
Springbok World Cup winning wingers Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie will definitely miss not only the first test of the international season against Wales but also the first test against Ireland on July 6.

The duo, who were injured in the last 10 days, with Arendse sustaining a fractured cheekbone and Moodie a fractured index finger, were ruled out of contention for the next two tests in order to give them a chance to recover.

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus also confirmed that star winger Cheslin Kolbe is “touch and go”, while hooker Malcolm Marx needs to be managed back into action after not playing since he was injured in the World Cup last year.

World Cup winning fullback Damian Willemse has also been ruled out of both tests.

Kolbe’s progress is set to be monitored over the next few days and a decision will be made before the team is announced internally on Sunday and to the public on Tuesday with the team flying out to London on Wednesday night for next Saturday’s match at Twickenham.

Erasmus also confirmed a few names that have been circulating with longer term injuries, including Steven Kitshoff, Jean Kleyn, Lood de Jager, Jean-Luc du Preez and midfielder Henco van Wyk, who isn’t capped but was at the alignment camps.

Jasper Wiese is also serving a six-match ban and won’t be available until deep into the international season.

Given the injury list, there may have been some thought of wrapping up players in cotton wool to prevent further injuries ahead of the Ireland test, but Erasmus dismissed this idea.

“I think we are at a stage where we don’t have the luxury of keeping guys in cotton wool. A simple thing – a guy like Ox has played a lot, but he is not tired, he is not punch drunk. Same with Vincent (Koch), the same with Frans (Malherbe),” he explained.

“A guy like Gerhard Steenekamp did really well for us last year. When he becomes available he will probably be someone who just slots in. He is not old and punch drunk.

“But a guy like Malcolm is a guy you probably want to manage more, with the other hookers around. You have to think carefully because you want to see some new blood playing, but you also don’t want to happen what happened in 2018 where we blooded a helluva lot of guys but we lost the test match. We want to win the test match, we want to manage some guys getting back from injury and we want to blood some youngsters.

“So it is a bit of a balancing act, but as the week goes on, we get some clarity. Ok, Malcolm can play in that game, ok, Cheslin, we have to manage him still. Putting them in cotton wool, well, they won’t be match fit and battle ready for Ireland. Wales is certainly no pushover as we have experienced in the past.”

Watching the Bulls

Erasmus said if the Bulls did lose their Vodacom United Rugby Championship semifinal this weekend against Leinster, he would certainly look to include some of their players in the test team, but that this would be limited to experienced players. It is unlikely that some of the younger players gunning for selection would be looked at for the Wales test.

“I don’t think everybody that will be involved for the Ireland test matches will get drafted in for the Welsh test match for the pure fact that they haven’t really trained with us. But there is a helluva lot of experience and we already have a few injuries.

“Cheslin is touch and go, but Mapimpi is fine. We might be thin there, and we do have (Cuan) Horn and (Aphelele) Fassi but a guy like Willie le Roux might just help settle down combinations there. Depending on how the guys do and the injuries, it wouldn’t be ideal for them to have three training sessions and then play against Wales.”

Erasmus and his coaching team will be watching the URC semifinal and will then plot their selection with one eye on returning for the massive two test series against Ireland.