Injury forces Springbok Steyn out of Tri Nations clash with All Blacks

FRANS STEYN has been ruled out of next week’s Tri Nations encounter against New Zealand in Johannesburg due to injury.

The Racing Metro full-back, one of three fresh faces added to an expanded Springbok squad for the home leg of the competition, has been advised not to train until next Wednesday.

He suffered an injury to his quadriceps in a pre-season match last Friday and has discussed the issue with national management, who were hoping his return would boost their fortunes after losing all three games in the tournament so far.

Andy Marinos, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) manager of national teams, confirmed the news, adding that discussions had now been opened with Steyn’s club and the French Rugby Federation to secure his availability for the world champions’ Tests against Australia on August 28 and September 4.

“The injury situation has to be dealt with first, but we are hopeful that Frans will be available to us after the All Blacks match,” Marinos said.

Steyn, who has been capped 37 times, last played for his country in the one-off Test against Wales in Cardiff at the start of the season.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers is confident his charges can bounce back from their dismal tour to Australia and New Zealand with success over the All Blacks at FNB Stadium.

He added: “We did some hard talking. It was acknowledged by us all that fixing things has to come from within and that everyone has to play their part.

“We let ourselves down and there is a determination to show that we can bounce back”.

“Last year the bulk of the squad came from the Bulls and the Sharks, who play a similar style of rugby. With more Stormers players coming in this year we have had to adapt a bit.

“We did not have the opportunity, or in fact the time, to get everyone fully on the same page, which we have now been able to do during this week’s training camp.”

New Zealand scrum-half Jimmy Cowan has been passed fit to travel with the All Blacks squad for the clash.

The 28-year-old was a doubt after being forced to miss Saturday’s 20-10 victory over Australia in Christchurch due to a rib injury suffered in the 49-28 win over the Wallabies in Melbourne.

The Highlanders captain was named in coach Graham Henry’s 26-man squad for the clash with the Springboks at Soccer City in Johannesburg, but Alby Mathewson was placed on standby as cover in the event that Cowan failed a fitness test.

Cowan’s availability provides Henry with a selection headache, with Piri Weepu having also shown impressive form in the number nine jersey.

New Zealand will need just a single point from their clash with the world champions to secure a 10th Tri Nations crown, having won their first four fixtures in this year’s competition.

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