South Africa’s head coach Jacques Nienaber has defended the Münster-based duo Damian de Allende and RG Snyman after a “fire pit accident” and expects them to take on the British and Irish Lions this summer.
The Springbok players were injured in an incident along with clubmates Mike Haley and CJ Stander over the weekend in which all four were burned.
De Allende and Snyman sustained major leg, hand and face damage and won’t appear in Munster’s match against Zebre on Friday, but could be available for South Africa’s two Tests with Georgia early next month before the Lions streak goes down on April 24. July.
they are alright
“I’ve talked to both of them and they’re fine, that’s the most important thing, and their families are fine,” said Nienaber.
“Will you be able to play Georgia? At the moment I’m sitting here, if everything goes according to plan, I think so.
“The challenge is that if they get an infection or cannot fly to us as quickly as possible for other medical reasons, then of course they make the challenge a little more difficult. I think we have to be adaptable. “
De Allende and Snyman will be visiting a specialist on Friday and Nienaber was referring to his own time in Ireland when explaining how such an incident could come about.
The 48-year-old spent a season at Münster in 2016 as a defensive coach before returning to the South African team alongside Rassie Erasmus.
Nienaber added, “Accidents happen and any accident, like a car accident, is not ideal but we cannot control it.
“For me, because I was in Ireland before, I actually understand that because it rains a little more in Ireland than in South Africa.
“When I was there, you wanted to do wood fire and braai over a wood fire or sit in front of a wood fire like we do in South Africa – if you miss home a bit – I did the same thing, I took a little gasoline and throw it on the wood and light it, otherwise the wood will be wet so you can’t burn it.
“I think I did it just like everyone else there and accidents happen. You explained it to me and it makes perfect sense. They made a fire and the fire just ran up in the canister and the canister fell and the gasoline ran down their legs.
“Of course it’s not ideal. As the head coach, you want them to be fine and to train them, but now we need to make plans to get them into the mix as soon as possible and their wellbeing first and foremost. “
Both were included in South Africa’s 46-man squad announced on Saturday and Snyman now has a second problem to solve as the striker has been out on his Muenster debut since August due to an anterior cruciate ligament damage.
Lood De Jager is another player facing a race against time to battle the Lions, but Nienaber gave a positive update on the sales ace that could potentially even feature in the Premiership play-offs.
“As I understand it, his progress right now is spot on. If things continue like this and they make it to the final or even the semifinals, he might be able to take part, so I think Lood is doing really well, ”he said.
Meanwhile, Springbok’s number eight Duane Vermeulen, who underwent ankle surgery on Wednesday, remains a huge doubt as to whether he will face the Lions.
Nienaber said: “Some players come back anywhere from five to 16 weeks depending on the severity of the injury and the surgeon will likely know once they open it and take a good look at what’s going on.”