Super Rugby franchises are beginning their final preparations for the 2019 season, with the tournament set to kick off in just over two weeks’ time.
South African sides have faced their fair share of struggles in terms of player retention in recent years, with the money on offer in Europe luring away many of the country’s top talents, but short offseason stints in Japan had seen a number of younger players stay in South Africa, with their salaries in the Japanese Top League allowing them to supplement their income.
One of the more concerning issues surrounding these moves has been the risk of injury, with many players forgoing a proper offseason in order to play more rugby. Sharks back rower Jean-Luc du Preez recently picked up an injury with Sale in the Gallagher Premiership and is now set to miss the opening two months of the Super Rugby season.
Du Preez is not the only one, with Bulls lock RG Snyman set to miss a similar amount of time after picking up an ankle injury with the Honda Heat in the Top League, which is due to be operated on today.
Snyman, 24, is likely to miss at least the first six rounds of the competition, ruling him out of home contests against the Stormers, Sharks and Chiefs, as well as trips to play the Jaguares and Lions, with the visit to Durban to take on the Sharks at the end of March a possible return date. Four of the five games Snyman is likely to miss are against sides in the South African conference with the Bulls and his presence will be sorely missed by the Pretoria-based side.
The Bulls will likely look to Jason Jenkins to fill the void created by Snyman’s injury and partner Lood de Jager in the engine room, whilst the franchise can also call on Schalk Brits and Duane Vermeulen in the pack, with the two veterans providing some welcome reinforcements for Alan Zondagh’s side.
Watch: RugbyPass exclusive – This is Zebre
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now