South Africa's World Cup defense in jeopardy as Malcolm Marx sidelined with knee injury
Posted : 14 September 2023
South Africa's World Cup title defense faces a setback as hooker Malcolm Marx has been ruled out of the tournament due to a long-term knee injury. Coach Jacques Nienaber has delayed naming a replacement, believing there is enough cover at hooker, with Bongi Mbonambi being the only remaining specialist number two.
This has opened the possibility of a recall for flyhalf Handre Pollard or centre Lukhanyo Am, who were initially not considered fit for the World Cup squad but played a significant role in the team's 2019 triumph.
Handre Pollard, known for his kicking accuracy, has been training with his English club Leicester Tigers recently. The decision on the additional player will be confirmed later in the week.
Joseph Dweba was the nominated standby option when the squad was initially announced. Marx sustained his knee injury during training when his knee got caught in contact. Scans revealed the extent of the injury.
Malcolm Marx is a prominent figure in world rugby, known for his prowess as a hooker and his ability as a ball carrier and turnover specialist at the breakdown. Coach Nienaber expressed disappointment for Marx and wished him a swift recovery.
Nienaber also emphasized the squad's sufficient coverage at hooker with Bongi Mbonambi and Deon, with Marco being an additional option who has trained in that position and featured on team sheets as a hooker.
In the upcoming match against Romania, Mbonambi will start, with Fourie as his replacement on the bench, while Van Staden will start among the loose forwards.