Boks sweating over injuries ahead of international season

todayMay 22, 2024 36

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Stormers utility back, Damian Willemse, has joined Sharks centre, Lukhanyo Am, on the Springboks injury list ahead of the international season, which will see the Rugby World Cup champions take on the Six Nations champions Ireland in July.

Damian Willemse of Stormers during the United Rugby Championship 2023/24 game between the Stormers and Ulster at Cape Town Stadium on 30 March 2024 © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Willemse will have to undergo finger surgery that will leave his availability in the balance ahead of the much-anticipated rumble against the number two ranked nation in the world.
Am has sustained a shoulder injury and suffered a rib fracture two weeks ago, but his availability for the international season has not been ruled out completely.
Lukhanyo AM of Sharks during United Rugby Championship 2023/24 rugby match between Sharks and Benetton at Hollywoodbets Kings Park Stadium on the 11 May 2024 © Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Sharks’ scrumhalf, Jaden Hendrikse, is also injured and looks even more unlikely to feature against Ireland.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Steve Haag Sports/INPHO/Shutterstock (14422867an) Hollywoodbets Sharks vs Zebre Parma. Jaden Hendrikse of the Hollywoodbets Sharks European Rugby Challenge Cup Round of 16, Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban South Africa – 07 Apr 2024
Willemse and Am’s injuries come against the backdrop of the Springboks’ second in-person alignment camp of the year, which started in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Springbok head coach, Rassie Erasmus, has assembled a group of 38 players for the two-day camp.

The first alignment camp was hosted in March, with a series of online alignment sessions with selected locally based and overseas players replacing the initial plan of an in-person camp early in May due to most players being involved in club competition in the Northern Hemisphere at the time.

Players from the Sharks, who are playing in the Challenge Cup final against Gloucester on Friday, have been excused from this week’s camp.

The camp follows a two-day coaches’ strategic session hosted last weekend where the building blocks were put in place for the camp.

“We are moving into a new cycle as a group as our first Test is only a few weeks away, so it is vital we start diving deeper into our on-field planning,” Erasmus said in a South African Rugby statement.

“In the first two camps we presented our wider plans to the players and introduced the new ideas presented by all the coaches and specially the new additions to the coaching team in Tony Brown, Jerry Flannery and Jaco Peyer, so we are in a good position to start zooming into different areas of the game in more detail.” he added.

Written by: Ntsako Mukhari

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