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Mon Apr 21 11:38:57 SAST 2014

Bakkies set for surprise recall

Craig Ray | 07 August, 2012 06:450 Comments
Bakkies Botha of the Springboks thanks the crowd after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool D match between South Africa and Fiji at Wellington Regional Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Wellington, New Zealand
Image by: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images/Getty Images

Veteran lock Bakkies Botha is in line for a surprising Springbok recall if Stormers youngster Eben Etzebeth is ruled out of the first two games of the Four Nations tournament.

Etzebeth is struggling with a hip injury and will see a specialist in Johannesburg today, which has led to the Bok coach making contact with Botha’s representatives about his availability.

“Eben has a cartilage tear in his hip, which we are going to investigate further,” team doctor Craig Roberts said.

“We will see a specialist and take advice on the appropriate way to handle the injury.”

If Etzebeth is ruled out of the clashes against Argentina on August 18 and 25, the Boks are thin in the No 4 lock position. That would leave Flip van der Merwe as the only fit No 4 lock in the group. The Lions’ Franco van der Merwe is an option, but with so little experience in the squad, Meyer suggested he’d recall the 76-test veteran Botha.

“I haven’t spoken to Bakkies personally recently, but I have spoken to his agent and I’ve got feedback that he has been in great form,” Meyer said.

“I’ve always rated Bakkies and you can’t go into a tournament like this with so many youngsters and inexperienced players.

“Franco van der Merwe has played well and it’s a pity Pieter-Steph du Toit is injured so I have to have a look elsewhere.”

Roberts also confirmed that JP Pietersen would miss the next six to eight weeks with a broken thumb while hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle has not fully recovered from a knee injury.

Meyer is considering calling up Stormers hooker Tiaan Liebenberg or Sharks’ hooker Craig Burden.

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