Western Province have confirmed that fullback Warrick Gelant will be out for between six and nine months with a knee-ligament injury.
Gelant tore his anterior cruciate ligament during the team’s loss to the Vodacom Bulls at Newlands this past Saturday.
During an online media conference on Tuesday, Province assistant coach Norman Laker confirmed that the injury would most certainly rule Gelant out of any further involvement in the domestic season.
‘As far as I know, Warrick has torn his ACL,’ Laker told the media. ‘The reality is that he will probably be out for nine months, but with good rehab, it could easily be six months.
‘It depends how the operation goes. So far, it doesn’t look too great. His was the only injury from the past weekend.’
It would not only keep him out for the rest of the domestic season, but almost certainly rule him out of any participation in the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa in 2021.
The injury will come as a hammer blow for Gelant, who was just beginning to play some of the best rugby of his career after switching to the Stormers from the Bulls during South Africa’s Covid-19 lockdown.
The 25-year-old finished Super Rugby Unlocked with 50 carries (rank second), 19 defenders beaten (rank first), 265 metres made (rank fourth) and 15 offloads (rank first) as the Stormers finished the tournament in second place.
He is the fourth World Cup-winning Springbok to have suffered a long-term injury, joining Handre Pollard and locks Lood de Jager and RG Snyman on the sidelines.
Western Province will have now have a decision to make at fullback. Laker named Tim Swiel, 19-year-old Kade Wolhuter and 23-year-old Tristan Leyds (younger brother of Dillyn) as potential replacements, but Laker was non-comittal when asked whether Damian Willemse could shift from flyhalf to fullback, what many consider to be a better position for him.
‘Look, we have a few options. We have Tim Swiel, who can cover 15. Kade Wolhuter, who is still a youngster and we also have Tristan Leyds who can be backup. We do have a few options who we can consider, but we have to look which player will fit in best.
‘We are quite lucky to have those two youngsters who we can fall back on and who can fulfill that role really well.’
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Image