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Schreuder in; wedding bells for Louw

Tue, 11 Jun 2013 15:00
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At this stage Francois doesn't require surgery
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Stormers scrumhalf Louis Schreuder has replaced the injured Francois Hougaard in the Springbok squad, whilst Francois Louw has been released ahead of his wedding.

The uncapped Schreuder is the second scrumhalf replacement in the Springbok squad in three days, following Piet van Zyl's call-up for Jano Vermaak, who injured his hamstring in the 44-10 victory over Italy in Durban last Saturday.

Hougaard was sent for scans and a specialist opinion in Pretoria on Tuesday to assess a knee injury he picked up during Super Rugby, which flared up again during training in Hazyview on Monday. He felt some discomfort and mild swelling in his right knee and was withdrawn from the afternoon training session.

The specialist opinion was that Hougaard be withdrawn from the squad currently preparing for the second Test in the Incoming Series, on Saturday against Scotland at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

"At this stage Francois doesn't require surgery but will be re-evaluated in two weeks' time to see if the injury has settled sufficiently for him to resume playing," said Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said: "Losing two No.9s in such a short space of time is obviously a setback, but I've always rated Piet van Zyl and Louis Schreuder as two of the best young scrumhalves in South Africa.

"Piet's attitude has been fantastic since he joined us on Sunday and he's worked hard on the training field and off it, making sure he gets to know and understand our plays as quickly as possible. He's been playing great rugby for the Cheetahs and I have a lot of confidence in him.

"Although Louis has not officially been part of our set-up yet, he has helped out at two of our training camps in Cape Town before, so coming into the squad will not be all new to him," said Meyer.

The team to play Scotland at Mbombela Stadium this weekend will be named on Wednesday afternoon, and one player who will definitely not be in the team is loose forward Louw.

The Bath flank will be released from the national squad in preparation for his wedding day and will not be considered for Saturday's Test against Scotland in Nelspruit.

Louw marries fiancé Sarah Tatham on Sunday and Meyer decided it would be best for the team and hard-working loose forward to focus on his wedding day.

"This is a very precious time for Francois and Sarah and I want them both to enjoy this very special occasion," said Meyer.

"Francois is extremely committed to the Springbok cause. I wanted to give him the entire week off, but he insisted on training with the squad this week.

"He really wanted to play on Saturday. While I respect that and believe playing for your country should always come first, one needs to be flexible when it comes to special occasions like these, which is why I have told him to take a few days off.

"Family is very important to us and I would like to wish him and both families the very best for their big day. Francois will join us again in Pretoria on Monday and I know his full focus will then be with the Springboks again," he added.

Meyer said that there was sufficient depth at loose forward in the squad and that this will also grant him an opportunity to look at other players in the Springbok set-up.

The 27-year-old Louw, who played in his 18th Springbok Test in Durban last Saturday and has been an integral part of the national squad since he was recalled in September 2012, said he was thankful for the opportunity to enjoy his forthcoming wedding day, which was planned a few months ago for Sunday, 16 June.

"My country will always come first and I would have loved to play for the Springboks this weekend," said Louw.

"But I appreciate the coach's view and the fact that he has granted me a few days off. Getting married is an important day in any person's life and I'm very much looking forward to it, but I'm equally excited to join the squad again next week."

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