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Sun Apr 20 18:26:43 SAST 2014

Bok call looms for veteran Bakkies Botha

CRAIG RAY | 08 August, 2012 06:170 Comments
Bakkies Botha just short of the try line during the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup match between South Africa and Namibia at North Harbour Stadium on September 22, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand
Image by: Steve Haag / Gallo 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 saw a specialist in Johannesburg yesterday, 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 on the ground in the No4 lock position.

That would leave Flip van der Merwe as the only fit No4 lock in the group. Lions' Franco van der Merwe is an option, but with so little experience in the squad Meyer suggested he would recall the 76-test veteran Botha.

"I have not spoken to Bakkies personally recently, but I have spoken to his agent and I have got feedback that he has been in great form," Meyer said.

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

Roberts also confirmed that 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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