South Africa coach plays down crisis as Habana injury adds to doping row

SOUTH AFRICA coach Peter de Villiers has attempted to draw a line under the doping storm that has derailed preparations for Saturday’s clash with Scotland.

The Springboks lost two men on Monday when hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle and winger Bjorn Basson were sent home after testing positive for a banned stimulant.

De Villiers admitted then he feared his whole squad could have taken the same substance as part of a nutritional supplement, and were therefore at risk. But yesterday, as he named his team, the coach tried to play down the controversy that has engulfed the world champions.

“We have moved on, we’re professional, we know how to deal with tough moments and we look forward to playing the game on Saturday,” said De Villiers. “We have sent a lot of stuff for testing. We don’t want to repeat it.”

De Villiers was dealt a further blow yesterday when winger Bryan Habana was ruled out of the rest of the tour, which ends with a fixture against England on 27 November.
Habana broke a bone in his hand during training when he fell awkwardly in a defensive drill, enforcing one of four changes to the team for the Scotland Test.

Lwazi Mvovo will replace Habana, while full-back Zane Kirchner, scrum-half Francois Hougaard and No8 Ryan Kankowski all come into the team. Gio Aplon switches to the wing.