Nienaber gives update on injured Kolbe
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springbok management are hopeful Cheslin Kolbe will feature in the Rugby Championship, as he races to shake off a leg injury.
Kolbe sustained a leg injury during training in the Springboks’ first week in Australia.
The star wing, who has been integral in the Springboks’ 2-1 series win against British and Irish Lions, missed the 26-28 defeat to Wallabies last weekend.
Kolbe failed to fully recover from the injury and will again be sidelined for this Saturday’s Rugby Championship Round Four match against the same opposition.
Sbu Nkosi retains the No.14 jersey for the second successive week as the Springboks look to bounce back from their shock defeat.
Speaking to reporters at the team announcement, Nienaber revealed Kolbe has not been part of any team training.
However, he is hopeful Kolbe will be in contention for selection ahead of the upcoming Tests against the All Blacks.
“Cheslin is back and running quite well next to the side of the field, but he’s not someone we will ever rush back,” Nienaber said.
“He hasn’t done any team training as yet, but the moment he has a full range of motion and strength, and when the medical team is happy with his progress, then we will reintroduce him to team training, and then a return-to-play protocol will follow.”
Nienaber added: “As coaches, we are hoping he will be available by next week or the week after. We wouldn’t have kept him in the squad if we didn’t think he would be ready to play some part in our Rugby Championship games [here in Australia].
“Sometimes when you are building towards a return to play, there can be a reoccurrence of pain if the load is too much, and that then pushes things back a bit.
“So, it’s not always an exact science, but our projections suggest he will be available for selection within the next two weeks.”
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The coach made three changes to his squad that will face the Wallabies this Saturday – one of which was enforced.
Trevor Nyakane was named at loosehead prop, with Steven Kitshoff named amongst the replacements in place of Ox Nché.
The enforced change sees Marvin Orie taking over at lock from Lood de Jager, who has started his concussion return to play protocol,
De Jager is expected to return for the Test against the All Blacks on September 25.
Nienaber admitted losing De Jager’s experienced is a major setback. However, he trusts Orie to fill the gap.
“Lood has played fifty Tests for the Springboks and that experience will be missed this Saturday,” Nienaber said.
“Marvin has only played a handful of Tests, however, he is an experienced lock. He has a lot of fist-class and Super Rugby caps and has been in the position for years.
“He played with Eben [Etzebeth] at school level at Tygerberg High, so they know each other well.
“We trust Marvin as a player and looking forward to what he can bring to the party.”
The Springboks face the Wallabies this weekend before the much-anticipated Test match against the All Blacks on September 25.