Etzebeth recovers but concerns over Whitely

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The Springbok team should be bolstered by the return of lock Eben Etzebeth for Saturday’s international against Scotland at Murrayfield, but the team could be without number eight, Warren Whiteley.

Etzebeth missed the 29-26 victory over France in Paris at the weekend with a foot injury, but will return to full training as the Springboks seek back-to-back wins on tour.

Whiteley has started both matches this month, including the narrow 12-11 loss to England at Twickenham, but is struggling with a calf problem.

South Africa have cover in his position as Duane Vermeulen could move from flank to the back of the scrum, with the return of Etzebeth, the shift from lock to blindside flank for Pieter-Steph du Toit is another option while Francois Louw is also a consideration for the number eight jersey, having played there in the Rugby Championship.

“Warren has a calf injury and I would say he is doubtful for Saturday,” Bok coach Rassie Erasmus told reporters on Monday. “Vincent Koch and Frans Malherbe (Props) both have some bumps and we will be cautious with them, but I think they will be fit to play.”

Erasmus is braced for a difficult challenge against Scotland who ran in eight tries in a 54-17 defeat of Fiji at the weekend.

“They employ a similar style of play to Super Rugby sides and are tactically very good. They are also not afraid to take you on from anywhere on the field,” Erasmus said, before voicing his admiration for Scotland coach Gregor Townsend.

“Gregor is someone I’ve coached against during my time with Munster. I know how he coaches and his style of coaching. His teams are always very fit and organised in all factors of the game.”

The Boks will name their team for the clash at Murrayfield on Thursday.