Liebenberg's season over?

Mon, 16 Sep 2013 15:52
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Western Province's Springbok hooker Tiaan Liebenberg could be out of action for the rest of the Currie Cup season.

Western Province's Springbok hooker Tiaan Liebenberg could be out of action for the rest of the Currie Cup season.

Although he announced last Wednesday the five-times capped Bok, who was battling with back spasms, could be out for two or three weeks, WP coach Allister Coetzee said in Cape Town on Monday that latest scans show that Liebenberg may have suffered spinal disc damage.

"More tests will be done this week," said Coetzee.

"Usually with that kind of injury, the player needs a complete break from the game and I think he'll be sidelined for two or three months."

The loss of Liebenberg comes hard on the heels of Michael Rhodes' likely suspension, after he was red-carded in the first half of the 29-18 win over the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld at the weekend.

Rhodes will appear before a South African Rugby Union judicial committee on Tuesday, September 17, in Cape Town.

Despite playing most of the match with 14-players, WP produced their best performance of the season and are still unbeaten.

"Our second-half performances this season have been a concern but against the Bulls we were far more clinical in the second half," said Coetzee.

"We've cut down on errors and that helped us a great deal, especially since we played with a man short.

"There has been a big improvement in our decision-making, especially in terms of the way we exited the Bulls' half, and we the result was that they opted to attack from positions deep inside their own half."

Captain Deon Fourie, who was cleared of foul play after he was cited a week ago, is still nursing a rib injury and will not be considered for selection against Griquas, who travel to Cape Town this week to play WP at Newlands, on Friday.

"I'm not sure how long Deon will still be out but he won't be available to play against Griquas," said Coetzee.

The only other injury concern is flyhalf Gary van Aswegen, who went for a scan on his knee on Monday.

“We’ll wait for the results of the scan and take it from there. Fortunately we are in a position where if Gary is ruled out, we have a player like Demetri [Catrakilis] who can come into the mix,” said Coetzee.

Coetzee added that Methetheleli Fuzani, who made his Currie Cup debut at lock, is 100 perfect and was not replaced due to injury. He said it had been premeditated to replace the 22-year-old, affectionately known as Tazz, before half-time.    

“It was always the plan to take Tazz off after between 30 to 40 minutes. He just happened to get a knock to the thigh [before the change]. For a big guy to play at that intensity at altitude is difficult and he hasn’t played at that level before.

“We planned that and I think Tazz will play longer this week. I’m very pleased with his debut - he had a certain role to play and he did that, and he made some huge tackles.”

Coetzee said his team need to consolidate what they have been doing well to stay on the winning track.

"We're not thinking about going through this competition unbeaten but rather thinking about winning the next match," said Coetzee.

"We need to consolidate the things that are working are working well for us. We are scrumming well, even when we we're a man short against the Bulls.

"Our line-outs are not as good as they should be and that's just one of many other areas where we need to up our game."

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