Rugby News: Experienced duo ruled out of first England Test

Springbok coach, Rassie Erasmus has revealed that former Sharks duo, Francois Steyn and Bismarck du Plessis will not be part of the matchday 23 for the first Test against England at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Both players were in action for Montpelier over the weekend in the French Top 14 final, where they lost 29-13 and are yet to arrive in South Africa.

Speaking in a press conference on Monday, Erasmus told reporters that the World Cup-winning pair would not be considered for selection on Saturday.


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“They will not be considered for action this week,” he said.

“It would not be fair on them as they have not trained with the other guys and it would not be fair on the guys who have been part of the squad up to now.”

Who is likely to start for the Boks against England?
Du Plessis’ unavailability further compounds somewhat of a crisis at hooker as first choice, Malcolm Marx has also been ruled out for an extended period due to a leg injury.

This means that one of Chiliboy Ralepelle, Akker van der Merwe or Bongi Mbonambi could don the number two jumper in Johannesburg.

Mbonambi looks to be the frontrunner, as he remained in South Africa while the other two both took to the field against Wales in Washington DC on Saturday.

The Stormers man spent much of last season in the Bok setup, where he was the second choice hooker behind Marx.


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At centre, it is likely that Damian de Allende will start in the absence of Steyn, having shown signs of returning to his old form after an indifferent 2017 season.

The Springboks will want to bounce back, following the disappointment of the Wales clash, which has also seen them slip down the World Rugby rankings to seventh place, four below their opponents on Saturday.

Kiwi ref for opening Boks v England Test

New Zealand’s Ben O’Keeffe will referee Saturday’s series-opener between the Springboks and England at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

O’Keeffe will be assisted by compatriot Glen Jackson and Frenchman Romain Poite, with Ireland’s Simon McDowell the television match official (TMO).

Poite will be in charge of the second Test in Bloemfontein (June 16), while Jackson will oversee the final Test in Cape Town (June 23).

Saturday’s Test is scheduled for 17:05.


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