Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk is hopeful of getting back onto the field early in the new year but the timing of prop Frans Malherbe’s return to play remains unclear.
The two Springboks were added to the injury list earlier this year with Malherbe suffering a neck injury in Townsville at the end of September during a Rugby Championship match against the All Blacks that marked the 100th Test between South Africa and New Zealand.
The injury ruled out the 30-year-old from the Boks’ final Rugby Championship match where they famously edged the All Blacks 19-17.
“I did not undergo any surgery,” Malherbe told Rapport newspaper, speaking of his return to South Africa from Australia after the injury. “I will see the specialist again soon. We will then see how the injury has responded and what the timeline is for my recovery. I cannot yet say exactly when I will be able to play again, but it will only be in the new year.”
In the absence of the 46-Test veteran, the Bok scrum is set to be anchored by Trevor Nyakane with Vincent Koch and Thomas du Toit vying for the No 18 jersey when the touring world champions take on Wales (6 November), Scotland (13 November) and England (20 November) in the coming weeks.
“I miss it terribly and wish I could tour with the Boks,” added Malherbe. “This is just a reminder of what a privilege it is to be involved with the Boks.”
The Stormers will also miss Malherbe terribly as they prepare to host their first United Rugby Championship matches, with Zebre (27 November) and Parma (4 December) scheduled to visit Cape Town Stadium.
The was better news for English Premiership club Sale Sharks as De Klerk declared his corrective hip surgery a success.
The Bok scrumhalf reportedly arrived at Sale training on crutches and he is expected to make his return to play after three months.