Junior Springboks Head coach Dawie Theron has called up KZN hooker Franco Marais to replace Jason Thomas in his squad for the remainder of the IRB Junior World Championship 2012.
Thomas picked up a head injury in his side’s 28-15 win over England on Tuesday night and was forced to leave the field.
He had to spend the night in hospital and was operated on Wednesday to repair a fractured bone in his face, ruling him out for six weeks and thus out of the tournament.
Marais has been training with the squad during their holding camp just before the tournament and Theron expects him to slot in seamlessly.
“Franco just missed out on selection for our final group as he was recovering from an ankle injury, so I am very happy for him to get a chance to join the squad again and be a part of the tournament. We obviously feel for Jason and wish him a speedy recovery. He is one of the favourite players in our team environment and we will miss him.”
Marais was very happy to join the team on Wednesday.
“I picked up my injury against the Argentinians a couple of weeks ago and thought my dream of playing in the tournament was gone. I could hardly believe it when I received the call from coach Dawie to join up with them again. I feel for Jason, but hope to use this chance to the best of my abilities,” Marais said.
Theron also confirmed the continued medical evaluation of regular captain and flanker Wiaan Liebenberg and flyhalf Tony Jantjies, who withdrew shortly before the England clash due to a wrist strain and a sore knee respectively.
“Our medical team is handling their progress with care. Wiaan will undergo another scan on Friday and we hope Tony will be good to go soonest. We’re not replacing them in the squad for now and will be guided by our medical team in this regard.”