Although he announced last Wednesday the the five-times Springbok, who was battling with back spasms, could be out for two or three weeks, Western Province coach Allister Coetzee said in Cape Town on Monday that latest scands show that Liebenberg may have suffered spinal disc damage.
“More tests will be done this week,” said Coetzee. “Usually with that kind of injury, the player needs a complete break from the game and I think he’ll be sidelined for two or three months.”
The loss of Liebenberg comes hard on the heels of Michael Rhodes’ likely suspension after he was red-carded in the first half of the Loftus match against the Blue Bulls.
“At this stage (Monday afternoon) Western Province has not been told when Michael Rhodes is likely to appear before a disciplinary committee,” said Coetzee. “We think it is likely to happen on Tuesday.” Despite playing most of the match with 14-players, WP produced their best performance of the season and are still unbeaten.
“Our second-half performances this season have been a concern but against the Bulls we were far more clinical in the second half,” said Coetzee. “We’ve cut down on errors and that helped us a great deal, especially since we played with a man short.
“There has been a big improvement in our decision-making, especially in terms of the way we exited the Bulls’ half, and we the result was that they opted to attack from positions deep inside their own half.”
Captain Deon Fourie, who was cleared of foul play after he was cited a week ago, is still nursing a rib cage injury and will not be considered for selection against Griquas, who play to Newlands, on Friday. “I’m not sure how long Deon will still be out but he won’t be available to play against Griquas,” said Coetzee.
Coetzee said his team need to consolidate what they have been doing well to stay on the winning track. “We’re not thinking about going through this competition unbeaten but rather thinking about winning the next match,” said Coetzee.
“We need to consolidate the things that are working are working well for us. We are scrumming well, even when we we’re a man short against the Bulls. “Our line-outs are not as good as they should be and that’s just one of many other areas where we need to up our game.”