Ntubeni faces lengthy lay-off
INJURY UPDATE: Seasoned hooker Siyabonga Ntubeni faces a lengthy lay-off and is unlikely to return to the playing field this year.
Ntubeni suffered what Western Province coach John Dobson described as a "significant" Achilles injury in his team's 34-27 win over the Sharks at the weekend.
The 25-year-old hooker - who was replaced by Neil Rautenbach, after being stretchered off in the 12th minute following a collapsed scrum - is one of two players who joined an already worrying injury list.
"We are not going to see Skara in the game for a long time," Dobson said when asked about Ntubeni's injury.
"You could see the pain he was in," he said of the Achilles injury, adding: "Emotionally and physically he was in tears in the change room."
Rising star Sikhumbuzo Notshe was also replaced early in the second half with an ankle injury.
The WP coach said he was "not sure" about how serious Notshe's injury is.
Province came into the game with influential players like prop Oliver Kebble, as well as centres Huw Jones (who pulled out just hours before the game with a hamstring strain) and Daniel du Plessis on the injury list.
Of the trio only Jones has a chance to play against the Lions in a Round Six match in Johannesburg this coming Friday.
"These injuries are significant," Dobson said.
"To me, Oliver Kebble has the ability to be the best loosehead [prop] in the world," the WP coach said.
"Huw Jones is a Test player [with Scotland], Skara [Ntubeni] is just beginning to find his feet and Notshe has come from the Springbok squad.
"To lose those quality players is tough."
Sevens Springbok Seabelo Senatla is also still about "four to five weeks" away from playing again, after suffering a wrist fracture at the Rio Olympics.