Le Roux in doubt for URC final

rugby15 June 2024 20:00
By:Brenden Nel
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Willie le Roux @ Getty Images

Springbok fullback Willie le Roux is in doubt for Saturday’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship final against Glasgow Warriors at Loftus Versfeld after failing a head injury assessment during his side’s win over Leinster in the semifinal.

Le Roux left the field after a late hit, in an ill-tempered game where Leinster got away with several high and late shots on Bulls players but were never penalised by referee Sam Grove-White and now will have to wait and see if he overcomes the effects of the high shot in order to be ready for the final.

Le Roux will now follow the return to play protocols as set out for any head injury and will be tested for symptoms on a daily basis before a decision is taken on his availability.

Le Roux also took a knock on his neck and an assessment will be done on that as well with details unclear on Saturday night.

Coach Jake White said afterwards that Le Roux was in doubt for the final. If he is ruled out he will be the third Springbok player to be injured in the last fortnight of the competition after Kurt Lee Arendse (fractured cheekbone) and Canan Moodie (fractured finger) were both ruled out last week.

“It is not just an HIA, he got a knock on his neck and we will have to also assess that from an injury point of view. It is obviously not great because we have Kurt-Lee and Canan already out and it just means if you play for the Springboks, you won’t play for the Bulls it seems,” White said after the game.

“He was outstanding, to be fair. People underestimate his value, just from the way he talks on the field and those kicks during the game. But you know, let’s see - I didn’t think with the back three that we had, we would be as good as we were today and we surprised everybody.

“If the opportunity comes next week for someone else, we will be able to put someone else in his place for the final if he is not available.”

White said he would not take chances with Le Roux’s health, especially with a full international season ahead of him.

“You don’t want to play head games with an HIA, I’ve got kids. I don’t want to push a guy in that situation. But who knows? Maybe tomorrow it is the neck that is more sore, and if that heals, maybe the HIA protocols mean he will be fine. But I’m not banking on that.”

White also said that Marcell Coetzee should be available for selection next week but may not play because of the team’s performance. Coetzee told White that even if he was available, it may not be necessary to find a place for him given the way the side has performed without him.