Jean-Luc du Preez is set to miss the Springboks’ end-of-year tour after sustaining an ankle injury in Saturday’s Currie Cup final. CRAIG LEWIS reports in Durban.
Du Preez had to be helped from the field midway through the first half after he painfully twisted his ankle in a tackle. The initial fear is that Du Preez suffered serious ligament damage, and SARugbymag.co.za understands that he is set for an extended period on the sidelines.
The Springbok squad for their upcoming end-of-year tour is set to be named on Sunday, with Du Preez having been expected to play another important role over the four Tests in Europe.
The Boks will kick off their tour against Ireland on 11 November, while finishing the trip with a clash against Wales on 2 December.
His absence will be a major blow for the Boks, as it was for the Sharks in Saturday’s final, with WP coach John Dobson admitting that it had been a turning point at Kings Park.
‘It was a horrible feeling in the coach’s box wondering if he was going to go off. You don’t wish an injury on anyone, and Jean-Luc and his brother [Dan] are such stars. Before the game we had identified both him and Dan as two of the Sharks’ biggest ball-carrying threats. It was a big moment in the game, and I really feel sorry for him.’
Sharks coach Rob du Preez agreed that the injury had been a big blow at a time when the Durban-based side were establishing some ascendancy.
‘It was a big loss, Jacques [Vermeulen] did well when he came on, but it was a big loss for us. We’re not too sure just yet about the exact nature of the injury, but we’ll do some X-rays to have a clearer picture.’
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images