Sale Sharks coach Alex Sanderson has revealed the remarkable dedication displayed by Lood de Jager to ensure he recovers from his latest injury setback in time to face the British & Irish Lions.
De Jager recently underwent a surgical procedure to repair damaged meniscus after suffering a training-ground injury while with his English club.
Sanderson suggested De Jager was looking at 12 weeks on the sidelines, but the coach hailed the attitude of the towering Bok lock as he sought to expedite his rehabilitation.
‘He won’t make the back end of this season but he will make pre-season and, at the very best, he could feature on the Lions tour all being fit.
‘I’m constantly amazed and surprised by this fella. I said “Go home”. He hadn’t seen his parents [in a while]. When you get a big injury like that on the back of another injury, I’m sure he would like to go and see his folks.
‘He has sent his missus home and his kid and he is still here to do rehab by himself. He is staying in one of the lad’s houses because he can’t get around. He is so keen to get back on it. Positive in terms of being able to come back and be back stronger. He is a brilliant advocate for anyone who gets injured and goes around kicking stones.
‘He’s like, “Right, I’m injured. Get me in”. He threatened the surgeon he better do a good job, the best job he has ever done. Threatened him – and then two days later he is on here on crutches, he is in the meetings, he is playing his music in the gym.
‘He is brilliant and he is still contributing in meetings, is still doing the lineout analysis. The guy is massively helping us even though he is not playing … too right I will be really proud [if he plays against the Lions]. He should, he has been playing his best rugby.’