De Jager blow for Boks as lock faces World Cup race to be fit

Lood de Jager
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South Africa lock Lood de Jager faces a race to be fit for the Rugby World Cup in Japan after it was confirmed a shoulder injury would rule him out of the rest of the Super Rugby season.

The Bulls captain was injured in his side’s defeat to the Jaguares late last month, but had initially expected to be missing for only a few weeks.

However, a visit to a specialist in Cape Town for a second opinion has confirmed surgery is needed and he will go under the knife on Tuesday. The Bulls captain is now expected to be side lined for the next four to five months, according to team doctor Herman Rossouw.

That would leave him with very little rugby under his belt in the lead up to the World Cup starting September, providing a potential selection quandary for Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus, who does not have much international experience in the position. Eben Etzebeth, who has had persistent injury problems in the last few seasons, is first picked when fit, while Gloucester lock Franco Mostert and De Jager’s Bulls team mate RG Snyman have also featured in recent campaigns.

Pieter-Steph du Toit is another option in the second row but prefers to play as a loose forward and is expected to fill that role at the World Cup.

His uncapped Stormers team mate JD Schickerling toured with the Boks for the November internationals but did not play. De Jager, 26, has 38 caps and played seven matches for the Boks at the 2015 World Cup in England where they finished third.