Rugby world champions South Africa have been dealt a second major injury blow after lock Lood de Jager was ruled out for up to six months with a reoccurrence of the shoulder injury that forced him out of last year’s Rugby World Cup final.
De Jager injured the shoulder again while playing for England’s Sale Sharks in their 40-31 win away at Leicester Tigers in the Premiership earlier this month, and will now miss the Rugby Championship billed for Australia later this year as well as the build-up to the British & Irish Lions series in South Africa, which is scheduled to start next July.
He joins flyhalf Handre Pollard of French Top 14 outfit Montpellier in the treatment room after it was announced on Monday that Pollard had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on Friday 11 September.
“It’s not great news on Lood. He’s going to have surgery and it is probably going to be a rebuild, so will be five to six months,” Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond told reporters.
De Jager has played only six times for Sale Sharks since joining them from Super Rugby side Blue Bulls ahead of the 2019–20 Premiership season.
The news is a massive blow for new Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber who has seen his World Cup-winning squad fall apart in recent weeks.
Lock RG Snyman has also been ruled out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury, while Eben Etzebeth is currently sidelined with a rib problem.
Nienaber is looking to build towards the Rugby Championship scheduled to be played in Australia from Nov. 7-Dec. 12, as well as the Lions series at home next year.
The Springboks have not played test rugby since lifting the World Cup in Japan last November due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while their home-based players, including captain Siya Kolisi, have been inactive since their Super Rugby teams stopped playing in March.
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