Sale Sharks and South Africa lock Lood de Jager has said that this third shoulder operation in under two years “went well”.

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The World Cup winner injured his shoulder in a win over Leicester Tigers in September, and it was later revealed by Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond that he had bent the metal pins that were in place from a prior operation.

It was initially unclear whether he would require surgery, but he now faces months out as he recovers. He shared with his followers on Instagram a photo of his left shoulder in a sling, which has become an all too familiar image of his.

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This rules the 27-year-old of South Africa’s upcoming defence of their Rugby Championship crown. This leaves head coach Jacques Nienaber without two of his second rows, with RG Snyman also set for a long spell out after rupturing his ACL in his Munster debut in August.

De Jager will also miss the beginning of the new Gallagher Premiership season, which restarts in November, as well as the conclusion of this current campaign. Sale face Worcester Warriors this Wednesday in a postponed match knowing a win would take them to the semi-finals.

The South African first went under the knife for his shoulder problems in early 2019, having injured his right shoulder in the second round of Super Rugby.

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He recovered in time for the World Cup, but came off in the first half of the final against England, this time clutching his left shoulder.

Following another operation, he made his debut for Sale in March this year, shortly before the season was suspended due to the Covid-19 outbreak. It is the same shoulder that is proving to be the bane of his career, and leaves him with another stint on the sidelines.

Though he is set to miss the beginning of 2021, the lock’s main priority will be to return to full capacity again come July when South Africa host the British and Irish Lions.

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