South African Rugby’s Road Ahead: Springboks Lock De Jager Sidelined Ahead of Crucial Matches

Springboks lock Lood de Jager will miss the upcoming mid-year Test window after undergoing shoulder surgery, dealing a blow to the South African team’s preparations for the Rugby Championship. With several key players sidelined, the Boks face a crucial stretch of matches against Wales and Ireland.

BBC Rugby Union: Springboks Lock De Jager Sidelined for Mid-Year Tests

Springboks lock Lood de Jager will miss the upcoming mid-year Test window after undergoing shoulder surgery last week, according to South African newspaper Rapport. The injury is expected to sideline him for at least two months, potentially ruling him out of the Rugby Championship as well.

It’s an unfortunate setback for De Jager, who has been plagued by injuries and illness over the past couple of seasons, including a heart condition that kept him out of the 2023 Rugby World Cup campaign. The second-row had recently regained his form with his Japanese League One team, Saitama Wild Knights, earning a spot in the competition’s Team of the Season.

“De Jager’s absence is part of a growing injury list for the Springboks, which includes several World Cup winners such as Steven Kitshoff, Jean Kleyn, Jaden Hendrikse, Kurt-Lee Arendse, and Damian Willemse.”

Head coach Rassie Erasmus has also confirmed that Jean-Luc du Preez and Henco van Wyk will miss the upcoming training squad due to injuries.

The injury woes for the Springboks may worsen, as Bulls’ fullback Willie le Roux suffered a head/neck injury during the team’s sensational victory over Leinster in the United Rugby Championship semi-final. The Bulls’ triumph has also made their players unavailable for the Springboks’ upcoming Test against Wales at Twickenham, forcing Erasmus to select his matchday squad from the existing training camp.

Despite these challenges, the 2023 World Cup-winning second-row pairing of Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert is likely to continue their partnership against Wales. Erasmus has also confirmed that Etzebeth has a chance to captain the side, with Siya Kolisi and other overseas-based players not available for the Test.

After the Wales clash, the Springboks will turn their attention to the highly anticipated Test series against Ireland, which will be made more intriguing by the Bulls’ semi-final victory over Leinster in the URC. The Boks’ fixtures for the mid-year Test window and Rugby Championship are as follows:

BBC Rugby Union: Springboks Fixtures

  1. Wales vs. Springboks (Twickenham)
  2. Ireland vs. Springboks (Series)
  3. Springboks vs. Argentina (Rugby Championship)
  4. Australia vs. Springboks (Rugby Championship)
  5. Springboks vs. New Zealand (Rugby Championship)

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