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Jean’s World Cup bogey appears to strike again

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks on 1 Dec 2014 at 11:00
Tagged with : , , , , ,

“The scans revealed significant ligament damage to the inside of his knee and the supporting muscles,” said Bok team doctor Craig Roberts via press release after captain Jean de Villiers was stretchered off during the second half of the team’s horror 6-12 loss against Wales at the weekend.

With the injury initially diagnosed as a dislocation of the knee-cap, there had been some hope (although perhaps only in my mind) that the structure of the knee itself may have been unaffected. Roberts’ early prognosis, though, makes for somber reading. Few will need reminding that de Villiers has suffered several serious knee injuries already and that at the age of 33, could hardly afford another.

His first occurred during his test debut in 2002 as a raw youngster – he had barely recovered from that before doing it again in 2003. That second knock cost him participation in that year’s World Cup and while it was not a knee that scuppered him four years later, he missed pretty much all of the 2007 campaign as well after tearing a bicep in the opening World Cup game.

With such a history – and his age – counting against him, few are now optimistic about de Villiers’ prospects of being fit for the 2015 tournament, especially in light of Roberts’ analysis. “Jean will return to South Africa and see an orthopaedic specialist in Cape Town early in the week. He has had previous surgery on this knee and the further management of the injury is dependent upon the specialist’s recommendations,” he said at the weekend.

With few options available at inside centre – and fewer still as captain – Bok coach Heyneke Meyer must now certainly be pondering the irony of his statement ahead of the Welsh test that de Villiers was the only player in the Bok group to be assured of a World Cup spot.


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