CARDIFF, Nov 21 (Reuters) – South Africa lock Eben Etzebeth is unlikely to be fit to play against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday as his recovery from concussion proceeds slowly, coach Allister Coetzee said on Monday.
Etzebeth missed the shock 20-18 defeat by Italy in Florence two days ago, a result that highlighted the crisis in Springbok rugby, after suffering concussion in the test against England at Twickenham two weeks ago. “It is highly unlikely he would be ready for this weekend‚” Coetzee told a news conference in Cardiff. “Eben didn’t pass his protocols on Sunday‚ that makes it unlikely.
If he passed the five-day return-to-play protocol, he would only be ready to take contact on Saturday‚ so that makes it highly unlikely.” Etzebeth is the only major injury concern for the Boks, who have been challenged by their coach to end a miserable tour and poor year with a victory. “The message to the team is simple: We’d like to finish on a high and fight back from where we currently are. We need to get out of the hole we are in. Every game is important to us and this one is no different,” Coetzee said.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond)