Injured Boks pair in doubt

WELLINGTON – The Springboks could be missing two key players for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks in Johannesburg.

Captain Victor Matfield and flanker Marcell Coetzee are both in doubt after being force from the field in last week’s 20-24 loss to Australia.

Matfield picked up a hamstring strain and Coetzee struggled after a knock to his knee, the South African Rugby Union’s website says. Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts says a call on their availability will only be made later in the week.

“Both are doubtful to play this weekend, but luckily neither of them are in doubt to miss the Rugby World Cup,” he said.

Other injured players in the Springbok squad —— Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez, Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts and Frans Steyn —— won’t be considered for selection this week. With only three fit locks in the squad, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has called up the experienced Flip van der Merwe as cover.

“Flip is very experienced and can cover both lock positions, so it made sense to pro-actively assess our options and bring him in,” Meyer said.

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