RWC 2023

Bok Bulletin — Etzebeth out for seven to 10 days after injury, no indication of citing for Kriel

Bok Bulletin — Etzebeth out for seven to 10 days after injury, no indication of citing for Kriel
Eben Etzebeth after South Africa's clash against Scotland at the Rugby World Cup. (Photo: Franco Arland / Quality Sport Images / Getty Images)

A shoulder injury to Eben Etzebeth doesn’t initially appear too serious, while centre Jesse Kriel was not cited as of Monday afternoon.

As far as outcomes go, the Boks came away from the match against Scotland in relatively good shape as they picked over the bones of the match and looked ahead to meeting Romania in Bordeaux.

The Boks won 18-3 to make a positive start to their Rugby World Cup 2023 campaign, which has ensured they are close to qualifying for the quarterfinals.

Beating Scotland was imperative in the so-called pool of death, with Ireland still looming for both sides. The pressure has now transferred to Ireland and especially to Scotland, who can no longer afford another defeat.

Furthermore, the injury report afterwards revealed that lock Eben Etzebeth is the only concern after a physical encounter with a shoulder niggle that will keep him out of the Boks’ second Pool B clash against Romania.

Etzebeth was always going to miss the match anyway, as it will almost certainly be Jean Kleyn who starts at No 4 alongside Marvin Orie in the second row.

Although Etzebeth might have played on, he gave honest feedback to the doctor and made the call to come off himself.

“It’s always tough in a game like that – opening game of the World Cup – but I do like the honesty when he said, ‘Guys, I’ve got a sore shoulder’,” director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said after the game.

“You know, 85%-ready Eben won’t be able to contain a team like Scotland. At this stage, it looks like a seven-to-10-day injury, like Jean Kleyn was, and like Canan [Moodie] was.

“So, there is some time to manage him, but the scans will give us a definite answer on it. We might find out it’s much more serious, but at this stage, it looks like a 10-day injury.

“Today we’ll probably have 100% clarity, I believe, on Eben. Then we’ll have to make the right call because we can’t have players who are 70 or 80% [who don’t] turn to 100% in the next seven to 10 days. We will have to think clearly.”

No citing

jesse kriel

Jesse Kriel of South Africa in action during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match against Scotland at Stade Velodrome in Marseille on 10 September 2023. (Photo: Franco Arland / Quality Sport Images / Getty Images)

The other good news was that centre Jesse Kriel appears to have escaped being cited after what could have appeared to be a head clash with Scotland No 8 Jack Dempsey. Some isolated still images make it appear as if there’s head-to-head contact, but the television match official (TMO) did not flag the incident with referee Angus Gardner.

The Bok management, though, believes the initial contact was with the ball and not the head. It appears the TMO must have seen it the same way. 

“We are really comfortable; there hasn’t been a citing [and] I’m pretty sure there won’t be a citing,” Erasmus said.

“If it isn’t direct head contact – and it wasn’t, it was tackled on the ball and then he moved up after tackling on the ball … I’ve seen a few stills where people just [show] after direct contact to the ball.

“If you took it a millisecond or a second or two back, you’ll see that he clearly tackled on the ball. So, we’re very happy with how it was refereed.”

Erasmus questioned whether Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell’s hit on Kurt-Lee Arendse wasn’t picked up either.

“I think Finn Russell’s call was much closer. Unfortunately, he [Russell] got injured then … I think that deflected a little bit from the action that he did, but we were happy with the decision that was made,” Erasmus said.

“Obviously there’s some time to do citings still, but I’ll be very surprised for the indirect contact – with first contact on the ball – that there will be anything from that.” DM


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