Injured Sale lock Lood de Jager has landed himself a new job this week, assisting Springboks Green team coach Mzwandile Stick before having his latest shoulder operation next week.

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The South African World Cup winner is back in his native country for yet more surgery – while recently playing for Sale in the Premiership he bent the metal pins inserted in one of his shoulders following operations during 2019. 

Sale boss Steve Diamond had initially hoped that de Jager might escape going under the knife and would feature in the Premiership title run-in. However, his shoulder specialist recommended surgery.

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Schalk Brits stars in Bringing Home Gold, the RugbyPass review of the 2019 World Cup won by South Africa

Now back at home in Cape Town, de Jager will make good use of his time before entering hospital by assisting one of the Springboks trial teams as lineout coach ahead of next Saturday’s showdown.  

A lot of people do play with bent pins,” said Diamond before gave up on hopes de Jager could play on his season for Sale. “I have got pins in my legs that have bent after the event and apparently if you are a welder and you weld two pieces then the weld is the strongest point and it appears that is what has happened to Lood.”

The trial game in Cape Town is part of South Africa’s preparations for the 2020 Rugby Championship which will be played in Australia in November and the players involved next weekend have expressed their excitement regarding a fixture where the selections were chosen via a draft pick system.  

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Duane Vermeulen said the clash would not only serve as an opportunity for the young players to show what they can do at this level but would also be beneficial for all the players in building their match fitness for Super Rugby Unlocked, which kicks off on October 9.

“The most important thing for us as players is to work on our match fitness, especially going into our local competition,” said Vermeulen. “And for the youngsters, it will be the opportunity to go out and display their skills on a bigger stage with an eye on perhaps getting the nod when we play in the future as a Springbok squad.

“There are guys like Arno Botha who have been in the fold before and have come back in and now have another opportunity. It would be nice for the coaches to see what they have and if they still have that burning desire to play for the Boks.”

Steven Kitshoff added: “The feeling you get from playing for the Springboks is definitely still there. We give as much as we can and make the necessary sacrifices to play for the team, and that is something I think of every day. To be back at the Stormers and now here after the Covid-19 pandemic brought things to a halt is great, and I’m really looking forward to the weekend.”

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