WP U21 lock breaks neck

JD Schickerling is expected to be out of rugby for at least a year after breaking his neck against the Blue Bulls U21s at Loftus.

The injury occurred in the fourth minute of last Saturday's match when the 19-year-old Junior Bok was attempting to catch the ball from a restart. His head collided with the shoulder of Bulls lock Irne Herbst and afterwards the other Bulls lock, Marvin Orie, grabbed Schickerling in a headclamp before hurling him to the ground.

Orie will appear before a Saru disciplinary committee on Tuesday for his role in the injury where he will be charged for allegedly contravening law 10.4 (e) pertaining to tackling a player whose feet are off the ground.

Schickerling's mother, Cornelia, told Die Burger that her son was '2mm away from paralysis' after breaking his neck between the fifth and sixth vertebrae.

Shickerling is currently in a Pretoria hospital and has undergone two operations in a bid to insert a protective plate in his neck to support his spine.

'The operation was a success,' a relieved Allister Coetzee told SARugbymag.co.za on Monday. 'The plate has been put in and it's helping to relieve the pressure on the spinal chord. We are relieved that the worst is over and that he has feeling in his arms and legs.

'He will be out of the game for a year plus but the most important thing at the moment for him is to get passed this period first. We're not even thinking about rugby at the moment.

'We will give him the best possible support that he can get from Western Province.'

Photo: Gallo Images

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Simon Borchardt