New Zealand vs Tonga

Bok dismisses reports as 'nonsense'

Sat, 26 Jan 2013 12:36
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World Cup-winning former Springbok captain John Smit has dismissed as 'nonsense' reports that he is about to leave Saracens.

World Cup-winning former Springbok captain John Smit has dismissed as 'nonsense' reports that he is about to leave Saracens.

An injury crisis at hooker prompted claims in the Cape Town media that the Saracens-based Bok might be a good option to join the Stormers on a short-term deal, while other reports linked him to a move to Toulon in France.

While Smit - who retired from Test rugby after the 2011 World Cup - did not specifically mention the Toulon reports, he did make it clear he was "loving" it at Saracens.

"To all the questions out there, I'm not going to Stormers and never was, just an inexperienced journo talking nonsense," Smit said on his Twitter page.

"I'm contracted to @Saracens and loving it here.

"Good luck to all our teams in the Super 15."

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee, who also dismissed the notion of an SOS going out to the 33-year-old Bok, on Friday revealed that Lions hooker Martin Bezuidenhout will join the Stormers at the start of next week, as injury cover in  the front row.

With Siyabonga  Ntubeni (shoulder) having undergone surgery this week and Springbok Tiaan Liebenberg (back) still a few weeks away from taking contact, Bezuidenhout will be based in Cape Town until the end of March.

Ntubeni, one of the stars in Western Province's victorious Currie Cup campaign, underwent surgery last Tuesday after injuring his shoulder in a freak training ground accident last week - when a teammate landed on top of him.

Springbok replacement Tiaan Liebenberg is making steady progress from his troublesome back injury - leaving WP captain Deon Fourie as the only fit No.2 in the squad.

Coetzee said Ntubeni could be playing by mid-April or the end of April.

"Tiaan [Liebenberg] is doing really well," the Stormers coach said, adding: "He is not taking contact at this stage, but he is partaking in 60 to 70 percent of all sessions.

"The important thing is to wait for Tiaan to start taking contact, firstly controlled and then in the open environment. The important aspect is conditioning. You can't just come from an injury, being medically 100 percent right, but then the other players are at a different level - ready to play Super Rugby.

"If we are lucky, at a push, we can look at Tiaan to be back by the third week of the competition - that is a conservative projection, but it could be earlier."

Springbok veterans Andries Bekker and Schalk Burger are also participating in full training.

However, they will have to play in a pre-season match to book their places in the team for the opening match of the season - against the Bulls in Pretoria on February 22.

"I will look on Monday at which [pre-season] game they will play. They have to play in the warm-up matches or they will not feature against the Bulls [in Round One of the competition]."

By Jan de Koning

New Zealand vs Tonga
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