Concern over Bok prop's future

Mon, 01 Oct 2012 15:25
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Young Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen's career has been cast into doubt after it was confirmed that there is renewed concern over his neck injury.

Young Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen's career has been cast into doubt after it was confirmed that there is renewed concern over his neck injury.

Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts, speaking ahead of the Rugby Championship encounter with New Zealand in Soweto on Saturday, confirmed that Oosthuizen would be flying to Durban for "second opinion" on the injury.

Roberts expressed his concern over an injury the 23-year-old prop first suffered in the Currie Cup last year.

The injury, which required surgery, ruled Oosthuizen out for most of the Currie Cup season and he only returned midway through the Super Rugby competition.

His form saw him get a Bok call-up for the Test series against England, only for the neck injury top flare up in the opening international.

Oosthuizen worked his way back to fitness and after one half of Currie Cup rugby was recalled to the national team for last week's Test against Australia in Pretoria.

He was then ruled out of the Loftus Versfeld Test, after having complained of 'general stiffness' earlier in the week.

It has now transpired there may be a bigger problem than first thought.

"I've not been completely happy with his neck, as he still showed symptoms after having played in the Currie Cup last weekend," Roberts said.

"We're seeking another opinion as we need to make the right decision for his career. Coenie is a young player and potentially he has a long career ahead of him, so long term we need to make the right decisions and can’t put him at risk in any way."

It was also revealed that centre Frans Steyn will undergo surgery on Wednesday, after missing last week's 31-8 win over Australia with an ankle injury.

The World Cup-winning centre, Steyn, aggravated the injury at training last week.

Captain Jean de Villiers was then moved to No.12, with rookie Jaco Taute making his Test debut at No.13.

Roberts confirmed that Steyn would be out for three months.

"We've been doing a number of scans and seeing specialists, there is quite few loose bodies [bone fragments] in the joint, little pieces of bone that in time have broken of in the ankle," Roberts said about Steyn's injury.

"Every now and then bones catch into the joint and causes excruciating pain. It can also damage the joint.

"It was taken as long term decision, it will be done [the surgery] on Wednesday, and unfortunately keep him out for three months, also for end of year tour."

Young Bok flyhalf Johan Goosen sat out of training on Monday because of a bruised heel, while fullback Zane Kirchner also did not train due to a bruise on his hip-bone.

“He [Goosen] was comfortable running [on the field], just when he planted his foot for kicking,” Roberts said.

“We always knew beforehand that he may be sore, which is why early on we decided to change kickers.”

Kirchner will be assessed later in the week. He is struggling with a bruised hip, an injury he suffered when he was tackled into touch by Adam Ashley-Cooper in Pretoria - an incident that knocked the Wallaby back out cold and saw him go to hospital for treatment.

* Meanwhile it was confirmed that loose forward Jacques Potgieter has also been ruled out this week's encounter with the All Blacks with abdominal strain.