Matfield and de Villiers sidelined

by Staff Writer

Vice-captain Victor Matfield and centre Jean de Villiers were on Monday confirmed on the Springbok injury list, following Sunday’s 17-16 win over Wales in a Pool D match.

Team doctor, Dr Craig Roberts, said that both players would need ten days rehabilitation after the bruising encounter.

They join Bakkies Botha on the injury list. Botha was unavailable for selection for the match because of Achilles tendon soreness. His rehabilitation is continuing and he remains with the team.

Dr Roberts said: “The two concerns were obviously Jean de Villiers who has picked up a grade one rib cartilage sprain.

“We anticipate he will be out for ten days and we took him off the field more as a precaution than anything else. We didn’t want to make it a lot worse if he took another knock on the injury.

“Victor Matfield is in a similar boat. He felt his hamstring tightening up and, with a long tournament ahead, we decided to pull him off to protect that. He will also need ten days or so to get over that.”

Botha trained in the gym with the non-playing members of the squad on Monday, while the match 22 was given a day to recover. The team returns to field training in Wellington on Tuesday.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said that the management had prepared to manage niggling injuries before the tournament.

“We always knew that what you gain in this team in terms of experience, you forfeit in terms of fitness in the week following a game,” he said. “The older you get the longer you take to get over the bumps and bruises.

“But we have a good squad here and a good medical team and the focus is on getting the players ready for when they run out on match day.

“We put in the hard yards in, in terms of conditioning, before we got here. That was banked and it’s now a question of maintaining conditioning and getting players triggered. More training is not always better.

“This was undoubtedly the toughest opening game in the tournament and to get through it with a win and only three injuries in the squad is not bad.”

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