Springbok coach Allister Coetzee will have to make at least two changes to his pack for Saturday’s Test against Italy in Florence (kickoff 3pm).
Already entering the encounter with the pressure mounting on him and his coaching staff, Coetzee was dealt a further blow yesterday with the news that lock Eben Etzebeth has been ruled out of the match because of a concussion suffered in their 37-21 defeat to England last weekend.
Etzebeth was knocked out cold when he collided with physical England No.8 Billy Vunipola in a collision that highlighted the hosts’ dominance over the Springboks.
SA Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit, who started the match at the side of the scrum, is more than likely to shift back to the middle of the engine room where he will partner Lood de Jager.
That will open the door for Oupa Mohoje to come back into the starting lineup.
Coetzee will not call up a replacement for Etzebeth, with Franco Mostert, who also warmed the bench against England, expected to sit on the wood again.
But Uzair cassiem is back in the squad for Roelof Smit.
Among the backs, winger Bryan Habana is expected to be fit again after missing last weekend’s match, with JP Pietersen likely to give way after a stinker.