Matfield and De Villiers miss Fiji clash
September 11, 2011
Springboks centre Jean de Villiers is wrapped up during Sunday's win over Wales © Getty Images
South Africa have confirmed that lock Victor Matfield and centre Jean de Villiers will miss the Spirngboks' Rugby World Cup Pool D clash with Fiji.
The experienced pair were both injured during the Springboks' 17-16 victory over Wales in Wellington, with De Villiers coming off before half time and Matfield shortly after. South Africa team doctor Craig Roberts confirmed that De Villiers suffered a grade one rib cartilage sprain and Matfield was withdrawn as a precaution with a tight hamstring.
With both players set to be out for ten days, they will miss the clash with Fiji in Wellington on Saturday, and potentially their match against Namibia five days later.
"The two concerns were obviously Jean de Villiers who has picked up a grade one rib cartilage sprain," he said. "We anticipate he will be out for ten days and we took him off the field more as a precaution than anything else. We didn't want to make it a lot worse if he took another knock on the injury.
"Victor Matfield is in a similar boat. He felt his hamstring tightening up and, with a long tournament ahead, we decided to pull him off to protect that. He will also need ten days or so to get over that."
Roberts is also concerned about the fitness of Bakkies Botha who missed the Wales game with an Achilles problem. The doctor admitted his recover was not progressing as hoped but refused to rule him out of contention for the Springboks' upcoming fixtures.
"He's got an Achilles tendon problem. He hasn't responded as well as anticipated. We're still working on it and haven't made decision in terms of how we're going to deal with it," Roberts said.
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said that the management had prepared to manage niggling injuries before the tournament.
"We always knew that what you gain in this team in terms of experience, you forfeit in terms of fitness in the week following a game," he said. "The older you get the longer you take to get over the bumps and bruises. But we have a good squad here and a good medical team and the focus is on getting the players ready for when they run out on match day.
"We put in the hard yards in, in terms of conditioning, before we got here. That was banked and it's now a question of maintaining conditioning and getting players triggered. More training is not always better. This was undoubtedly the toughest opening game in the tournament and to get through it with a win and only three injuries in the squad is not bad."
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