French Boks to miss Scotland Test

June 19, 2014
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EWN Sport understands that French-based players in the Springbok squad are unlikely to be available to play Scotland in next week’s Test in Port Elizabeth.

This means the likes of Morne Steyn, Gurthro Steenkamp, Bakkies Botha and Bryan Habana will all have to report back to their clubs.

It’s understood the clubs will invoke International Rugby Board (IRB) Regulation Nine, which governs the release of players for the June test window.

The regulation stipulates that releases are required for the second, third and fourth weekends of June, or for three matches.

As a result of all of these players being in the squad that played against the World XV and not an official test, the Boks could field a depleted side against Scotland next week.

Habana is currently not with the squad due to the birth of his first child but will re-join them on Friday ahead of Saturday’s second Test against Wales.

It’s unclear as to whether Toulon would grant him further leave to be with his family and still play for the Springboks in Port Elizabeth.

Wynand Olivier, who plays for French club Montpellier, is on the replacements bench for Saturday’s game against Wales and played for the World XV against the Springboks on the opening weekend of June.

It’s unclear as to whether Francois Louw (Bath), Schalk Brits (Saracens) or Ruan Pienaar (Ulster) will also possibly return to their clubs for the same reason.

Meanwhile, Victor Matfield will become the most-capped Test player in the history of South African rugby on Saturday when he leads the Springboks against Wales in his 112th Test match at the Mbombela Stadium.

The record-breaking feat caps a remarkable return to rugby for the veteran lock, who retired after the Rugby World Cup in 2011, before making a highly successful return to the game earlier this year.

The 37-year-old made his Test debut on 30 June 2001 against Italy in Port Elizabeth.

(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)

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