CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa centre Jesse Kriel has been ruled out of the second test against France in Durban on Saturday but the Springboks have a ready-made replacement in Lionel Mapoe, who has returned from a hamstring strain.
After scoring his side’s opening try in the Boks’ 37-14 first-test victory at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, Kriel left the field with suspected concussion after 57 minutes and will not be risked in the second game.
However the return to fitness of Mapoe after he missed the weekend win means he will likely slip straight into the number 13 jersey alongside Jan Serfontein in the midfield, according to coach Allister Coetzee.
“I am sorry to be losing Jesse this week as I thought he and Jan combined really well in the midfield,” Coetzee told reporters on Monday. “Jesse should be back for the third test and I would like to see the combination get another chance then.”
Coetzee hinted that he would resist the temptation to bring Frans Steyn off the bench and into the starting line-up in the number 12 jersey, which would mean moving Serfontein to outside centre.
“I thought that Jan played particularly well against France in Pretoria and I would prefer not to move him,” Coetzee said.
“He is a specialist centre and I would prefer to select a specialist if I can. It is preferable to selecting someone from the bench as that would mean making a double change and that is not necessary at this point.
“So I will go with someone who is a specialist outside centre to play with Jan, which means Lionel or someone like that.”
Coetzee also revealed that centre Damian de Allende had been released back to his Stormers Super Rugby franchise as the thigh injury that kept him out of the first test had failed to show signs of improvement.
South African Rugby later confirmed his place in the squad had been taken by Cheetahs centre Francois Venter.
Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Clare Fallon