CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa have been dealt a second major injury blow in as many days after lock Lood de Jager was ruled out for up to six months with a reoccurrence of the shoulder injury that forced him out of last year's Rugby World Cup final.
De Jager, who reinjured the shoulder playing for England's Sale Sharks, will miss the Rugby Championship in Australia later this year as well as the build-up to the British & Irish Lions series in South Africa, which is scheduled to start next July.
Key flyhalf Handre Pollard is also set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after it was announced on Monday he had ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his knee while playing for French Top 14 side Montpellier.
"It’s not great news on Lood. He’s going to have surgery and it is probably going to be a rebuild, so will be five to six months," Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond told reporters.
New Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber has seen his World Cup-winning squad depleted in recent weeks.
Lock RG Snyman has also been ruled out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury, while Eben Etzebeth is currently sidelined with a rib problem.
Nienaber is looking to build towards the Rugby Championship scheduled to be played in Australia from Nov. 7-Dec. 12, as well as the Lions series at home next year.
The Springboks have not played test rugby since lifting the World Cup in Japan last November due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while their home-based players, including captain Siya Kolisi, have been inactive since their Super Rugby teams stopped playing in March.
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Peter Rutherford)