Rugby Championship News

Bok flanker Louw back for end of year tour





Springbok flanker Francois Louw had surgery on Monday after he injured his neck in the Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand in Wellington just over a week ago.

Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts told reporters in Cape Town on Monday that Louw had suffered a pinched nerve in his neck, and would be sidelined for about six weeks.

“Francois initially took a knock to his head, and the scans showed damage to a nerve in his neck. He has had surgery today on the (affected) disc and that should relieve the pressure (on the nerve),” Roberts said.

“He may be ready for the Outgoing Tour at the end of the year.”

The Springboks have called up the experienced Schalk Burger to replace Louw in the squad.

Burger, capped 71 times for the Boks, was in action for his Japanese club, Suntory, on Friday, and arrived in Cape Town on Monday morning.

“Schalk is full of life and back in the mix after arriving from Japan,” said Roberts.

Apart from Burger, Bok coach Heyneke Meyer can call on Warren Whitely and Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje, both of whom were on the recent tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Another Wellington casualty, scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, was on the mend after a knee injury.

“Ruan suffered an injury in the game against New Zealand, and he’ll be out for six weeks,” Roberts said.

“It looks like he’ll be ready for the end-of-year tour.”

Roberts said flanker Willem Alberts was well on the road to recovery after surgery.

Back in August, Alberts suffered a hamstring tear during the captain’s training run on the eve of the Test in Pretoria against Argentina.

Subsequently, he experienced lower back nerve irritation, which required surgery.

“Willem is doing well after surgery for a pinched nerve in his back,” Roberts said.

“He has started to come along nicely and we’ll see if he’s ready for the end-of-year tour. Everyone else is over the bumps and bruises after the New Zealand Test.”

Some of the Boks will sit out at training this week, as a conditioning measure.

“We would have liked four months at the start of the year for conditioning, but that cannot happen because of huge demand on players’ time,” Roberts said.

“We look at the players’ threshold before we pull them out.”

The under-pressure Boks have suffered back-to-back defeats in their most recent outings, and will be looking to regain their winning ways when they face Australia at Newlands on Saturday.

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