Bok coach has eye on World Cup as Kriel goes under the knife
Bulls centre Jesse Kriel could be in a race against time to be fit for the Springbok’s pre-World Cup engagements after sustaining a torn ankle ligament at the weekend.
Kriel‚ 25‚ suffered the injury during the Bulls’ 24-23 loss to the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.
“Jesse has torn a ligament in his ankle and will undergo surgery later this week‚” Bulls doctor Herman Rossouw said. “He will be on the sideline for a period of six to eight weeks.”
Although Rossouw’s timeframe indicates that Kriel could be ready to play again by the end of June‚ injuries of this nature don’t always follow an exact script.
Bok coach Rassie Erasmus will be an anxious follower of Kriel’s progress over the next two months as the experienced player is a key member of his World Cup plans.
Kriel has been in very good form this year and has also banked four years of Test experience and 39 caps since making his debut in 2015. In a backline light on experience‚ Kriel’s value to the squad is immense.
He is in the top 10 for linebreaks (six) in Super Rugby this year while he is also in the top 20 for dominant tackles (seven). But his ability to marshal the defensive line from outside centre is another vital attribute‚ especially as the Boks spent most of 2018 evolving their defensive system under Jacques Nienaber.
Kriel also adds utility value as a player who can operate at fullback and at wing.