Springbok flank Francois Louw has been ruled out of the remainder of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship with a pinched nerve in his neck. He picked up the injury during last Saturday’s Test against New Zealand in Wellington and the extent of the injury was confirmed after Louw went for scans and saw a specialist in Durban on Tuesday. According to Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts, Louw will be out of action for approximately eight weeks and may be fit for the end-of-year tour in November.
A decision on a replacement for Louw in the 30-man Springbok squad will be made in the coming day or two. “This is another set-back as we prepare to host Australia and New Zealand in two very important matches as Francois has been superb for us in the last couple of seasons,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. Other news on the injury front is that Ruan Pienaar will be out of action for approximately four to six weeks with a medial collateral ligament sprain.
This was confirmed after he was sent for scans on Monday. Louw and Pienaar will join a long list of injured players on the sidelines: Frans Malherbe, Coenie Oosthuizen, Flip Van Der Merwe, Pieter-Steph Du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Willem Alberts, Arno Botha, Pierre Spies, Fourie Du Preez and Jaque Fourie. Furthermore, following an agreement between the South African Rugby Union and the provincial unions, Lwazi Mvovo has been released to play in the Absa Currie Cup for the Sharks this weekend.
Mvovo will train with the Cell C Sharks this week and join the Springbok squad in Cape Town on Sunday evening. Due to injury concerns in other positions, Mvovo was the only player who was released this week. In the coming fortnight four players not in an identified enlarged match-day squad of 26 will be released on the Wednesday of both Test weeks after conclusion of the day’s activities to join their respective provinces for the Currie Cup.