Johannesburg - The Lions were given a setback ahead of the start of the Super Rugby season this year after they lost the services of wing Sampie Mastriet for at least three months.
According to the SuperSport.com website, Mastriet injured his shoulder in the pre-season games in Kempton Park on the weekend, breaking his collarbone and now has a lengthy wait on the sidelines to return to the game.
His injury was a major disappointment for coach Johan Ackermann, who was also disappointed with the opposition as the Lions romped home in both pre-season games without really being tested.
“Sampie is out for three months. He broke his collarbone and he will be out for between 3 and 4 months,” said Ackermann.
“It is sad, because he has been training well for months now, and working hard to be ready for the season.”
The good news however, is that Springbok Lionel Mapoe has been cleared to return to action this week and will definitely get some game time in the team’s second pre-season game against the Vodacom Bulls in Polokwane this weekend.
Midfielder Harold Vorster will only be back next week, but Ackermann is hoping for medical clearance for him to at least get a half of rugby against the Argentinean team, the Jaguares, at Ellis Park on February 19.
“Lionel is back, he is geared up to play. We want him to start playing again as soon as possible to get some game time,” he added.
“We hope Harold is cleared on Monday. He has been training with us but hasn’t taken any contact yet. If he is cleared then we will probably play him for a half against the Jaguares.”
Ackermann wasn’t too happy with the opposition on the weekend, but hopes the team will be tested better in their games against the Bulls and Jaguares. Still, the hit-out in Kempton Park provided some positives.
“The opposition was disappointing, we didn’t see much that we haven’t seen already, we didn’t get much wiser. We wanted a game that we could get some contact, and the Valke were competitive for a half, and the Leopards sent a very weak team, so we couldn’t really compare players on an equal footing.”
The Lions are set to name close to their strongest side for Saturday’s outing.