x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

South Africa wait on injured Habana and Spies

The Springboks delay naming their side to face New Zealand in Hamilton on Saturday as they wait on fitness tests of Bryan Habana and Pierre Spies.

WELLINGTON // South Africa have delayed naming their team for the Tri Nations Test against New Zealand in Hamilton on Saturday as they await results of fitness tests on injured pair Bryan Habana and Pierre Spies. Winger Habana went off with a hamstring strain shortly before half-time in the Springboks' 21-6 loss to Australia in Brisbane last Saturday and did not return to the field. No 8 Spies would also be tested after sustaining a groin injury during the Wallabies game, South Africa Rugby spokesman Anthony Mackaiser said, adding that the team will be named at 12.30pm local time (5.30am UAE) tomorrow.

Bakkies Botha is still recovering from a minor knee injury, but the lock expected to be named. Victory for South Africa over the defending champions would secure the Tri Nations crown for the visitors while the All Blacks have a slim mathematical chance of retaining their title if they win their last two matches by large margins. The Springboks, currently training in Australia's glitzy Gold Coast region in the tropical northern state of Queensland, have also held off arriving in Hamilton early out of fears the sleepy northern town might be too boring for the players.

The team will arrive on Thursday, local media reported, so they could keep their interest levels up with a better array of diversions in the Australian coastal resort. "There is nothing in Hamilton," the South Africa coach Peter de Villiers was quoted by New Zealand media as saying. "Hotel fatigue can kick in and the guys can lose interest very quickly and they might start thinking of going home early," he added.

* Reuters