Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber is hopeful that Duane Vermeulen and the Munster fire-pit duo of Damian de Allende and RG Snyman will recover in time from their mishaps and still be able to play in the series against the British and Irish Lions.
Nienaber confirmed on Wednesday that Vermeulen, man of the match in the 2019 World Cup final, underwent ankle surgery on Wednesday and the Springboks will adopt a wait-and-see attitude to their talismanic eighthman.
De Allende and Snyman both suffered burns during a petrol-and-fire accident in Ireland but barring further bad luck, Nienaber said he expects the centre and the lock, who provide the Springboks with much of their grunt, to be fit for the Lions series.
“Duane had an operation today because his ankle injury required surgery. We hope the surgery goes well and the rehab too, and the feedback we got was that he could take anywhere between five and 16 weeks to be ready, depending on the severity of the injury,” Nienaber said.
“And the doctor will only know that once he’s opened him up.
Our captain letting us know he is on the road to being A-okay. Give him a message of encouragement. ???? pic.twitter.com/D0pLnUIJGS
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“Jesse Kriel actually had a similar injury just before the 2019 World Cup and he made a quick recovery. So we have discussed it and we don’t feel it’s necessary to get someone in for Duane at the moment. It will all depend on Duane’s rehab.”
While the details of the fire-pit issue make it sound like De Allende and Snyman were up to mischief, Nienaber is certainly not about to have kittens over their behaviour.
“Accidents happen, preferably they don’t and it’s not ideal, but this could not have been controlled and it was not due to their negligence,” Nienaber said.
“In Ireland, you must understand, it rains more than it does here and when I wanted to have a wood fire over there, when I missed home, I also took a bit of petrol and put it on the wood otherwise the wood is too wet and won’t catch alight.
“Everyone does it over there and unfortunately the fire just ran up the canister, they then dropped it and the fire went on their legs. Fortunately the burns are just superficial and we have plans to get them in the mix, training, as quickly as possible.
“I’m optimistic they’ll be able to play against Georgia unless there is infection or they are not able to fly back soon.”