South African Rugby
Wentzel put on Boks standby
November 1, 2012
Marco Wentzel has won two caps for South Africa © PA Photos
London Wasps lock Marco Wentzel has been put on injury standby for a call-up to the South Africa squad for their autumn internationals.
The Springboks are due to play Ireland on November 10, Scotland on November 17 and England on November 24, but have been hit by a number of injuries in the build-up to the tour. As such Boks' coach Heyneke Meyer has opted to put the twice-capped Wentzel on standby, rather than Test-veteran Bakkies Botha, who now plays for Toulon.
"I've been thinking about Bakkies, because I know what he can do," said Meyer. "He can do a great job as an enforcer but I don't want to call him up to sit on the bench. The World Cup will be in England and we have a chance to see the players in (English) conditions."
Meyer has been forced to call-up a number of veterans to help cope with an extensive injury list with Coenie Oosthuizen, Bismarck du Plessis, Tiaan Liebenberg, Andries Bekker, Siya Kolisi, Jacques Potgieter, Pierre Spies, Johan Goosen, Frans Steyn and Habana all sidelined. Furthermore, Schalk Burger, Juan Smith and Heinrich Brüssow are still out of action with long-term injuries.
Saracens hooker Schalk Brits has been included in the squad for the first time since 2008 and his front-row colleague Gurthro Steenkamp of Toulouse was also handed a call-up.
"We're struggling with injuries in the front row, and I believe, especially in Europe, you need big scrummagers. In Europe every scrum is a battle," Meyer said. "The tour is part of a long season and I cannot use it as an excuse because we want to win every Test match."
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