Injured Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis will undergo surgery on Tuesday to correct serious damage to ligaments in his right knee which he sustained during Saturday’s first Test against Argentina in Cape Town.
Du Plessis was replaced in the squad by Craig Burden, who took part in his first Springbok training session in Mendoza on Monday afternoon.
The Springboks trained in almost perfect conditions front of more than 1000 fans at the Chacras Rugby Club on the outskirts of the city, which lies very close to the Andes Mountains.
“We are very honoured to have such a magnificent turn-out at our training session – it’s clear the people around these parts love their rugby and we’re excited to play in front of a sold out stadium on Saturday,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“It’s really humbling to see people from another country show their support like this. When one sees this, you realise how great it is that Argentina have been added to The Castle Rugby Championship.”
Commenting on the injury situation, Springbok Team Doctor Craig Roberts said confirmed that Du Plessis will be operated on in South Africa on Tuesday.
“Obviously our big loss from the weekend is Bismarck du Plessis, who injured his knee ligaments very early in the game,” said Roberts.
“He’s going to have surgery tomorrow (Tuesday) and that will rule him out for the rest of the season as the usual rehabilitation for such an injury is up to eight months to come back from that.”
The other two players that took knocks at the weekend are Bryan Habana and Andries Bekker, who both rolled their ankles.
“At the moment we are managing them. They didn’t train today and we will make an assessment on their availability later in the week,” said Roberts.
Adriaan Strauss replaced Du Plessis at DHL Newlands and Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was happy with his form.
“Adriaan’s had a great Super Rugby tournament. He’s proved himself this year as one of the top hookers in the world. He has not played for a few weeks because the Cheetahs did not reach the playoffs, but I think he was awesome on Saturday,” said Meyer.
The Springbok team that will face Argentina in the second Test of the Castle Rugby Championship will be named in Mendoza on Wednesday afternoon (Argentinean time).