16 Aug 2011

Steyn out of All Blacks test

5:54 am on 16 August 2011

A hamstring injury has ruled Springbok fullback Francois Steyn out of the Tri-Nations rugby Test against the All Blacksin Port Elizabeth this weekend.

Steyn sustained the injury during Australia's 14-9 victory over the Springboks in Durban last weekend but will remain with the squad in the Eastern Cape coastal city for rehabilitation.

Gio Aplon is the obvious choice to replace 2007 Rugby World Cup winner Steyn although exciting 20-year-old Patrick Lambie, one of three late additions to the squad, is also an option.

Better news for South Africa coach Peter de Villiers is that loose forward Juan Smith has been released from the squad to play for Free State Cheetahs in a Currie Cup fixture against Mpumalanga Pumas this weekend.

Smith, another 2007 World Cup winner in France, has been sidelined for most of this year with an Achilles injury sustained in the Super 15 championship and is considered a certain starter at the World Cup in New Zealand next month if fit.

South Africa conditioning coach Neels Liebel confirmed that the elbow injury of captain and hooker John Smit is not serious after weekend reports claimed it could rule him out of the World Cup.

Smit and lock Bakkies Botha did not train because of mild flu, but both are expected to be in the starting line-up when de Villiers names his team and replacements tonight.

The clash with bitter rivals the All Blacks represents the fourth and last chance for South Africa to win a Test this year ahead of the World Cup after two losses to the Wallabies and one to the All Blacks in the southern hemisphere championship.

The All Blacks name their team on Thursday.