Boks Bekker out of RWC

by staff

An ankle injury has ruled giant Stormers Super Rugby lock Andries Bekker out of contention for a place in South Africa's Rugby World Cup squad.

A South Africa Rugby Union (SARU) statement said the tallest player to wear the green and gold of the Springboks would undergo surgery on Tuesday for a tendon ruptured during the Super Rugby season.

A son of former South Africa lock Hennie Bekker, 27-year-old Andries is 2.03 metres tall, weighs 122 kilograms, has been capped 24 times and would probably have been third choice for the World Cup behind veteran Northern Bulls duo Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha.

SARU also said Ulster lock Johann Muller had returned home from Sydney after his midweek withdrawal from the team to play Australia on Saturday in the opening match of the Tri-Nations championship.

A hamstring strain ruled out Muller and his place went to former Coastal Sharks team-mate Alistair Hargreaves with another forward from the Durban franchise, number eight Ryan Kankowski, added to the replacements.

World champions South Africa start their defence of the title against Wales in Wellington on September 11 and also face neighbours Namibia, Fiji and Samoa in a group from which the teams finishing first and second qualify for the quarter-finals.