Bok duo face lengthy lay-off

Tendai Mtawarira and Lood de Jager are facing a number of months on the sidelines after suffering injuries during the opening round of Vodacom Super Rugby.

De Jager lasted just 10 minutes of the new season before making his way off in a makeshift sling after falling awkwardly in a tackle. The initial prognosis isn't good, with Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské stating he is likely to miss up to two months of rugby with a broken elbow.

Mtawarira tore his calf muscle and according to Sharks coach Gary Gold, he is unlikely to play again in the tournament.

The Sharks also suffered a blow before the match when captain Bismarck du Plessis had to withdraw with a shoulder injury. However, his absence was a precautionary measure and he could be in line to face the Lions at Kings Park this weekend.

'Bismarck was struggling on Thursday and we wanted to give him as long as possible to come right,' said Gold. 'He has something wrong with his shoulder and thought he could push through. He probably could have if we had only a few games left of the season. It's a small tear that can heal quite quickly or deteriorate.

'It was a calculated risk not to play him, and with hindsight it could be argued that it backfired because we lost, but if he had played, we might have lost him for six weeks. And now he could be back for this week's game.'

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images