• Springboks to Play All Blacks in North Harbour with Less Spring

    The South Africa Springboks will be without the services of flanker Jaco Kriel for this weekend, when the Springboks and the All Blacks take the field.

    He has a shoulder injury that prompted his return home and South African Rugby announced via tweet that he would not be replaced by another player.

    Is it resignation or confidence that causes the Springboks to leave an empty space in the place formerly occupied by the 28-year-old Kriel?

    Perhaps they simply did not want to foot the fare for a new player to fly in to Auckland, and then take the trolley to North Harbour Stadium for Saturday’s match.

    He did receive medical treatment in Auckland, however, undergoing a scan that revealed that he had sustained a labrum tear (fibrocartilage – rubbery tissue that keeps the ball of the shoulder joint in place), so Kriel’s issues are adding to the Springboks’ tab for the trip to New Zealand.

    It could require anywhere from two weeks at the minimum to four weeks at the maximum for Kriel’s injury to recover, so not only will he miss playing the All Blacks, he could also be absent for South Africa’s subsequent match in the Rugby Championship, a September 30 meeting with the Wallabies in Bloemfontein, the capital of the province of Free State of South Africa.

    Kriel was injured in the 23 – 23 drawn game between the Boks and the Wallabies in Perth Saturday past, so it is unclear whether he shrugged off the injury as nonconsequential or simply did not bother reporting it to the team.

    Boks Coach Allister Coetzee will also be missing tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen, who broke his arm in the game in Perth, an injury that did not go unnoticed. Coetzee will replace him with Wilco Louw, an uncapped player, who, as much as anything else, proves that not everyone from South Africa is named Coetzee or Oosthuizen.