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Bok veteran unlikely to be ready for first All Blacks clash

SPOTLIGHT: Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber provided an update on veterans Duane Vermeulen and Frans Steyn ahead of their Rugby Championship opener against the All Blacks in Nelspruit on August 6.


Both players were included in the Springbok squad last weekend after they missed the three-Test series against Wales.

Vermeulen has been recovering from knee surgery, while Steyn suffered a hamstring injury in June.

“If you have an older group, you got to manage their load,” Nienaber told reporters on Wednesday.

“If players are 22 or 23, they can handle the load and they just recover a little bit quicker.

“If you are a little bit older like most of us then you do have to look after the bodies.

“We got them in to have a look at them [Vermeulen and Steyn].


“They have been busy with rehab, so we wanted to have a good look at them under our medical staff and see where they are at.”

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Not ready

Out of the two players, Vermeulen is less likely to feature in the Rugby Championship opener against the All Blacks.

“Duane hasn’t had a rugby session yet, so I think it would be tough to get him in the mix,” said the Bok coach.

“He is still busy with his return-to-play rehab protocols.”


On Steyn, Nienaber added: “Frans is in training sessions, so he is training with us.

“He also started his pre-season with the Cheetahs last week.

“It means he has got one week under the belt already and now he has this week with us.

“We wanted to have a look at their conditioning and where their rugby skills are at and then we will make an informed decision on selection next week.”

After the opener in Nelspruit, the Springboks and All Blacks will face each other again a week later in Johannesburg.


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