Lood de Jager, the World Cup-winning Springbok lock, is to facing shoulder surgery that will delay his debut for Sale Sharks for up to four months.
De Jager suffered the injury early in the first half of South Africa’s 32-12 win over England in last Saturday’s final in Yokohama.
He will have a scan on Wednesday to confirm the extent of the damage and the surgery that is required to put him on the road to recovery and a new rugby career in the English Premiership.
Sale boss Steve Diamond has assembled a strong South African contingent in his squad headed by World Cup-winning scrum-half Faf de Klerk, and de Jager, one of the Springboks starting locks, is certain to make a major impact in the English game once fit.
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He told RugbyPass: “Lood is having a scan Wednesday and we are probably looking at an operation and three to four months out, so we will get him in the spring by the look of things.
“There is an old saying that you don’t miss what you have never had and we know we have a really good player on our hands. It will be great to have him the squad after his recovery.
“I won’t be picking Faf, Tom and Mark until our second European game at home to La Rochelle, so they are going to have two weeks off,” added Diamond.
'If you can get a kid who has been a bit troubled and you can get him on the straight and narrow he becomes a very valuable player for you'
– Fascinating insight from Steve Diamond on @SaleSharksRugby, @premrugby, South Africa imports and Manchester
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 14, 2019
“At the La Rochelle game we will be advertising the return of Faf, Tom and Mark and we saw in 2003 the impact of the England win had terms of interest in the sport and we want to build on having someone like Faf because there isn’t anyone in the sport like him.
“In rugby, there isn’t anyone else who can go head to head with Jake Ball and then stand and talk to royalty in the dressing room after the World Cup final wearing a pair of Springbok budgie smugglers!
“We start our European matches away at Glasgow and I now have a squad that can have a dabble in the competition. After nine years of coaching I have managed to get into Europe five times and each time I have got a hiding.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 5, 2019
“So, fingers crossed we can be competitive in what is our first season of spending up to the salary cap.”
Sale have managed one win out of their first three Premiership games but have picked up losing points against Gloucester and Bristol, an aspect of performance Diamond believes is vital as the season progresses.
They now face Wasps on Friday night at home. Diamond added: “We were competitive right to the end of both of those games and could have won them. Getting a bonus is a little reward but last season we only managed six in total and ended up one point off fourth place.”
WATCH: How Rassie Erasmus was on the cusp of quitting as Springboks coach after a run of average results
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