Faf faces lengthy lay-off
INJURY UPDATE: South Africa have received a major blow to their year-end Test prospects with the news that Francois de Klerk is facing five months out injured.
According to the Daily Mail, the Springboks and Sale Sharks scrumhalf face surgery on the hip injury he has battled since the second test against the British & Irish Lions.
The 30-year-old World Cup-winning scrumhalf returned to his Premiership title-chasing club with the problem, and it now appears that the blow is so severe that rest and physiotherapy alone will not restore the livewire No.9 to action.
De Klerk first suffered this hip problem in July, but then was able to play against Australia twice and the All Blacks twice during Rugby Championship clashes in September and October.
It is reported that on his return to England the Sharks discovered his injury had not gone away, so sent him for scans in London last week.
It is understood de Klerk’s operation will take place before the end of October, meaning he will be unavailable until 2022. This means de Klerk will miss his country’s autumn Tests against Wales, Scotland and England which get underway in Cardiff on Saturday, November 6.
Cobus Reinach replaced de Klerk in the series-clinching third test in Cape Town with Herschel Jantjies on the bench.
On a domestic front, de Klerk’s prolonged absence – perhaps until next March – would be a hammer blow for his club.
Operating alongside a number of other current and former Springboks plus fit-again Manu Tuilagi, De Klerk made Sale a good bet to improve on their third-place finish and semi-final defeat suffered last season.
With fast-developing 20-year-old Raffi Quirke expected to join up with the England squad for the autumn Tests and the more experienced Will Cliff injured, Sale is extremely short of scrum-half options.
They may therefore need to quickly enter the loan market – where Bath have recently snapped up Gloucester No.9 Joe Simpson who had previously enjoyed a few weeks covering for injuries at Saracens.