South Africa suffered a major injury shock with the news that key player Eben Etzebeth had been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup’s second pool game.
The outstanding lock Etzebeth suffered a shoulder injury in Sunday’s 18-3 opening win against Scotland and was substituted by RG Snyman just 26 minutes into the game.
Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus confirmed on Monday that the 31-year-old will be sidelined for seven to 10 days, meaning he will miss Sunday’s game against Romania. However, if that timetable is correct – and Erasmus has acknowledged the possibility that he could be out for longer depending on further scans – Etzebeth could return for the Springboks’ crucial clash on Saturday September 23.
And Erasmus praised the second row for their honesty in pointing out the injury so early in the World Cup opening game.
“It’s always tough in a game like this – the opening game of the World Cup – but I like the honesty when he said, ‘Guys, I have a sore shoulder.'” “You know, Eben won’t be able to play 85 percent of the time “Be able to stop a team like Scotland,” said Erasmus.
“At this stage it looks like a seven to 10 day injury, like Jean Kleyn and Canan (Moodie).
“So there is still some time left to treat him, but the scans will give us a clear indication. We may find out it’s much more serious, but at this point it looks like a 10-day injury.
“Today I think we will probably have 100 percent clarity about Eben and its extent. Then we have to make the right decision because we can’t allow players who are at 70 or 80 percent (who don’t) to reach 100 percent in the next seven to ten days. We have to think clearly.”
There were also suggestions that Jesse Kriel could be held responsible for instigating an apparent direct confrontation when he dangerously attacked Jack Dempsey. But Erasmus was undeterred by this prospect and was confident that his man had done nothing wrong.
“We feel really comfortable; There has been no citation (and) I’m pretty sure there won’t be any citation,” Erasmus added.
“If it’s not direct head contact – and it wasn’t, he was tackled on the ball and then he moved up after the tackle on the ball.” I’ve seen a few stills of people just after direct contact with the Ball (show).
“If you look back at it a millisecond or a second or two, you can see he was clearly attacking the ball. We are therefore very satisfied with the refereeing.
“I think Finn Russell’s call was a lot closer. Unfortunately he was injured at that time. I think that affected his performance a little bit, but we were happy with the decision we made.
“Of course there is still some time to make quotes, but I will be very surprised that something will come of it because of the indirect contact – with the first contact on the ball.”