Nienaber fears injured scrum-half Hendrikse could 'be in trouble'

Johannesburg (AFP) –


South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber fears that scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse could "be in trouble" after suffering a leg injury in a Rugby Championship victory over Argentina at the weekend.

The scrum-half had not been on the field long as a replacement in Gqeberha when he was the victim of a late tackle by forward Marcos Kremer and had to be stretchered off.

"He went for scans. Hopefully it is not too bad, but Jaden is a tough character and he could not put weight on his leg," Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber told reporters.

"I think it might be more than just a ligament ... it might be bone. Hopefully it is not that bad, but I think he is going to be in trouble."

His injury raises to three the number of Springbok scrum-halves sidelined after first choice Faf de Klerk and Herschel Jantjies, leaving Cobus Reinach as the only fit number nine in the squad.

The injury is the latest turn in a dramatic season for the 21-year-old that includes a red card against the British and Irish Lions, and a surprise call-up and fairytale debut for the Springboks.

Hendrikse was sent off playing for the Sharks against the Lions in Pretoria after striking Wales full-back Liam Williams with an elbow, and served a three-week suspension.

He was then added to the Springbok squad and drafted into the matchday 23 as a replacement just hours before a Rugby Championship clash with Argentina last weekend.

Coming off the bench late in the second half, he scored the 79th-minute try that secured a bonus point for a Springboks side that had already clinched victory.

Nienaber could not immediately give details regarding the injury to loosehead prop Trevor Nyakane, who hobbled off after just 13 minutes on Saturday with what appeared to be an ankle problem.

The coach said veteran eighthman Duane Vermeulen, who had ankle surgery in June and performed 'water boy' duties on Saturday, was close to full fitness.

"Duane has been a handful for us at training and he is keen to take contact again," said Nienaber.

South Africa will remain in Gqeberha until the Rugby Championship organisers, SANZAAR, map out the future of a 2021 edition hampered by coronavirus travel restrictions.

New Zealand have withdrawn from a second-round fixture against Australia in Perth on Saturday pending clarity on venues and dates for the remaining nine matches.

Australia and South Africa are possible hosts and there has also been speculation of a move to Europe with double-headers in Cardiff, Dublin, London and Paris.