A warm-up game has cost the Springboks yet again. Prior to the World Cup last year Gcobani Bobo and Jean de Villiers suffered serious injuries and now Ashwin Willemse's season seems to have been put on hold.
Last year's Player of the Year and one of the Bok team's most productive assets was stretchered off in Kimberley yesterday with suspected ligament damage to the right knee.
Willemse was immediately sent for X-rays, but there was no clarity on the severity of the injury last night. Yet team spokesman Rayaan Adriaanse said: "It does not look good."
For the record, the Bok XV cantered to an easy 62-19 win over the Central Unions XV after leading 22-16 at the break.
White has now, in the space of two weeks, lost three of the country's most gifted players in Willemse, Jaque Fourie and Joe van Niekerk before the international season has even kicked off.
While White's team scored nine tries and conceded just one, the coach will not be totally satisfied with a performance that can best be described as "stuttering".
The primary phases were the most pleasing, with the pack dominant in the scrums. The lineouts were okay, but much improved in the second period when Victor Matfield finally got on to the park.
The backs also ran freely after the break, with some slick handling leading to a number of tries, but by that time the defensive wall built by the opposition was cracking.
Bolla Conradie and Brent Russell were effective as a halfback pairing, but centres Wayne Julies and Marius Joubert, and De Wet Barry in the second half, were the most impressive.
Gaffie du Toit, with three tries, will take with him loads of confidence into the Test.Of concern though will be the poor handling by some of the forwards.
Springboks Scorers: Tries: Du Toit (3), Cronji (2), Willemse (2), Russell, Mentz; Penalty: Du Toit; Conversions: Du Toit (6), Barry.