Few players have had a journey as interesting between caps as Scotland’s Cornell du Preez may have. The Worcester Warriors back row has been called up to Gregor Townsend’s squad for the upcoming Six Nations two years after he earned his sixth and last cap but has endured a horrifying time with injury since then.
The 28-year-old joined the Warriors from Edinburgh in the summer of 2018 but fractured his larynx only minutes into his debut after a collision with Wasps’ Joe Launchbury.
He was subsequently out of action for much of the season, having multiple surgeries on his throat, and faced a long battle on the road to recovery. This included not being able to speak for four weeks due to a paralysed left vocal cord and having a tracheostomy.
He returned to action for the final few games of last season for the Warriors, who were struggling near the foot of the Gallagher Premiership. They were able to stave off relegation and have looked far stronger this season with the return of du Preez.
His form for the Warriors has merited a return to the Scotland squad in what is a competitive back row as the Scarlets’ Blade Thomson and the Glasgow Warriors’ Ryan Wilson and Matt Fagerson all miss out.
To come through such adversity and to be named in the 6 nations squad shows it all @cornell_du ???
— John Hardie (@hardhorse44) January 15, 2020
As a @WorcsWarriors fan I'm pleased that @cornell_du has been selected, he's been solid for us so far this season, especially after the injury last season.also I'm surprised that @duncan_weir isn't on this list, quality week in week out, but good news he can play premiership .
— stephen rivett (@stephenrivett) January 15, 2020
— Bob Low (@MarleyLow) January 15, 2020
The South African-born loose forward’s call-up does not surprise any Worcester fans, but his return is an uplifting story after suffering one of rugby’s most unique and harrowing injuries.
Superb, he’s nails and totally deserves a recall! ?
— Jon (@BigdaddaJon) January 15, 2020
— DurcaDurca42 (@BazDurcan) January 15, 2020
So we'll deserved he has been a rock in attack and defence #coyw
— Martin (@MartinH61coyw) January 15, 2020
This is not the only gruesome injury that du Preez has suffered throughout his career, having broken his ankle during his time in the Scottish capital.
However, that has not shaken his enthusiasm for the game and he has been richly rewarded with this call-up by Townsend. Many are celebrating what an achievement that is.
WATCH: Scotland coach Gregor Townsend names his squad for the 2020 Guinness Six Nations
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