Namibia's Johan Retief will not face Uruguay after the bizarre injury
For a sport where injuries are inevitable, not much surprises you these days. That was before the news that Namibia’s Johan Retief has had his Rugby World Cup ended after being bitten by a spider in the team hotel.
Retief was due to play against Uruguay, in Namibia’s final Pool A fixture in Lyon on Wednesday night, however the second-row/No 8 has been ruled out of the clash after developing complications from the incident that took place in Aix-les-Bains, where the team have been staying.
“Johan Retief is quite a weird one. He has developed an abscess close to his pectoral area which means the wound has been open,” head coach Allister Coetzee mysteriously revealed during Monday’s team announcement.
And the spider bite was further discussed on Tuesday when backs coach Chrysander Botha was the man facing the press. He added: “You can’t plan for something like that to happen but we’ll miss him.
“Johan is very unlucky, and we are disappointed because he is a player who means a lot to us since he can play at No 4 and in the back row.”
Related: How to watch Uruguay v Namibia
The versatile back-five forward played 80 minutes at No 7 in Namibia’s opening 52-8 defeat to Italy before moving into the engine room in the 71-3 loss to New Zealand. Retief returned to the seven jersey for the 96-0 rout at the hands of hosts France, again lasting the full 80 but will be denied the chance to feature against Los Teros.
It’s not the first bizarre injury at this year’s Rugby World Cup after Scotland hooker Dave Cherry was forced to leave Gregor Townsend’s squad having picked up a concussion from falling over at the team hotel.
He was replaced by Stuart McInally, however the soon-to-be pilot did not make appearance before he too had to depart with a neck problem, leading to Johnny Matthews’s call-up.
Namibia are also without captain Johan Deysel, who is set to serve a five-match ban for the red card he picked up against les Bleus in the tackle that fractured Antoine Dupont’s cheekbone.