Injury-hit Boks may force coach Nienaber's hand


Having learned that his World Cup-winning flyhalf Handre Pollard was rushed to hospital in France over the weekend would have left Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber cold.

Pollard became the fourth World Cup squad member to be placed on the injured list after locks RG Snyman, Lood de Jager and Eben Etzebeth all picked up injuries recently.

Playing for Montpellier against Racing 92 in the French Top 14, Pollard injured his knee in the second half during an attempted tackle and was seen clutching his leg. He had to be carried off the field on a stretcher.

Of the other three injured players, the knee injury of Munster lock Snyman is the most serious and he will be off the field for at least eight months after tearing ligaments just minutes into his debut match last weekend.

Etzebeth piked up a rib injury playing for Toulon and could be out for a month, while the Sale Sharks' De Jager has a shoulder injury which could keep him out for six to eight weeks.

All these players could miss out on the Rugby Championship if the Boks decide to still play in the competition. However, there have been rumours that Nienaber and director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus, will consider sending a largely inexperienced squad to Australia to play in the competition, because many of the first-choice players have yet to play since rugby was suspended in mid-March.

Already certain All Blacks players might decide not to play in the Championship from November 7 to December 12 because they are not thrilled that they will be away from home for a minimum of eight weeks, according to the New Zealand Herald.

The competition is set to run over six weeks, but players will have to arrive two weeks early to go into a  14-day isolation period and on their return to New Zealand will have to go into another 14-day isolation period.

New Zealand Rugby's CEO Mark Robinson said they are supporting their players one hundred percent and will accommodate any fears or reservations.

All Blacks hooker Codey Taylor said to be away from home for two months would be "extremely tough," but added, "hey, at least we can look forward to playing some Test footy."

For Nienaber, there was at least some good news at the weekend, with wing Cheslin Kolbe scoring two great tries for Toulouse against La Rochelle in the French Top 14.

In the same match, former Boks and Stormers players, in wing Raymond Rhule and fullback Dillyn Leyds, combined well to create a sparkling try for La Rochelle.

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