South Africa’s Janse van Rensburg to miss rest of Rugby Championship

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 17: Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg of South Africa 'A' attempts to get through the gap during the match between South Africa A and Vodacom Bulls at Cape Town Stadium on July 17, 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

The Springboks’ chances of winning the Rugby Championship suffered a blow following the withdrawal of lock Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg from the squad due to personal reasons.

Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber said the strict COVID-19 protocols to enter Australia, which includes a mandatory two-week quarantine, meant van Rensburg will definitely miss the remainder of the tournament.

FILE PHOTO: Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg (centre) in action for South Africa ‘A’ against Vodacom Bulls at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. /Getty Images

“It is always sad to lose a player, and especially such a good team man, but Nicolaas has personal matters to attend to, and as a Springbok family we support him,” Nienaber said.

Despite the loss of the 27-year-old, who is one of five specialist locks in the South African squad, Nienaber assured that that there was enough depth in the squad to prepare for Saturday’s game against Australia first before a double header against New Zealand on September 23 and October 2.

Rynhardt Elstadt and Jean-Luc du Preez, who are both utility forwards, will be able to step in to cover lock and back-row.

The reigning world champions resumed their preparations for the game at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane having had a rest on Monday. Nienaber said the team was determined not to make the same mistakes again that cost them the match on the Gold Coast on Sunday.

The Springboks gave away 11 penalties and were forced to play 20 minutes of the game with 14 men following yellow cards to captain Siya Kolisi and full-back Willie le Roux.

South Africa lost 28-26 to Australia with veteran fly-half Quade Cooper slotting a late penalty to win the match.

“We had a review of the performance on Tuesday morning and identified the areas we need to place extra emphasis on this week.”

(Story compiled with assistance from wire reports)

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