British & Irish Lions

Injury boost for Boks with star quartet expected to be ready to tackle Lions

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Pieter-Steph du Toit on the charge in the 2019 World Cup final (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Pieter-Steph du Toit on the charge in the 2019 World Cup final (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
David Rogers

With a series against the British & Irish Lions looming, the Springboks have received good news on the injury front with a key quartet set to return to action.

According to Afrikaans newspaper Rapport, flank Pieter-Steph du Toit is set to return to action in the opening round of the Rainbow Cup when the Stormers host the Sharks at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday.

Du Toit last played rugby in February 2020 when he suffered a serious leg injury in a Super Rugby game against the Blues at Newlands. He made a full recovery from the injury, which was described as career-threatening at the time, but his return was further delayed when he broke his nose in a training ground collision with his brother and Stormers team-mate, Johan.

Looking ahead to the clash against the Sharks, Du Toit said: "All that matters now is to get back on the field, to get game time under the belt and to just enjoy playing again."

Meanwhile, flyhalf Handre Pollard (Montpellier, France) and locks RG Snyman (Munster, Ireland) and Eben Etzebeth (Toulon, France) are also on the mend.

Pollard ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) playing in a French Top 14 clash against Racing 92 last October, while Snyman tore the same ligament against Leinster in August 2020.

Both players have started training with their respective clubs and national coach Jacques Nienaber has been told the duo will be ready to play by 1 May.

Etzebeth, meanwhile, is also set to recover from a broken finger in time for the Lions series.

"I also saw the scans of Eben's broken finger. He should be ready to play within the next six weeks," Nienaber said.

There is, however, doubt over Etzebeth's lock partner, Lood de Jager, who recently underwent an operation after a leg fracture suffered on the training ground at his English club Sale Sharks. He was ruled out for 14 weeks at the beginning of April and will be a doubt for the Lions series.

The British & Irish Lions' tour is scheduled between 3 July and 7 August.

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