British & Irish Lions

Timely boost for Boks as Lood nears playing return

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Sale Sharks lock Lood de Jager in action during the Premiership Rugby match against London Irish in Salford on 6 March 2020.
Sale Sharks lock Lood de Jager in action during the Premiership Rugby match against London Irish in Salford on 6 March 2020.
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
  • Springbok lock Lood de Jager is nearing a return to full fitness.
  • The 28-year-old could still feature for Sale in the English Premiership this season. 
  • De Jager has been out since April after sustaining a knee and leg injury during a nasty fall in training.

The Springboks have their fair share of injury concerns heading into next month's series against the British & Irish Lions, but there was some good news on Wednesday regarding the rehabilitation of lock Lood de Jager. 

The 28-year-old has been out of action since April after sustaining a serious knee and leg injury following a fall during a training session with the Sale Sharks. 

But, according to national head coach Jacques Nienaber, De Jager is on track with his recovery and could even make a return to the field with Sale this month in the play-offs of the English Premiership. 

Sale are currently third on the log standings and will take part in the semi-finals next weekend with the possibility of playing in the final on 26 June. 

"Lood is going well," said Nienaber.

"His current projection as I understand it is that his rehab is on track and he's doing well. I think he is a little bit ahead of where they thought he would be.

"One week you're hitting all your markers and the next thing, you go to more explosive stuff with a bit more power, then there might be a little bit of a setback and you have to pull back on the rehab.

"But if you hit the marker and progress and there are not complications, then Lood could even be available if Sale makes the final of the Premiership."

That would be fantastic news for Nienaber and the Springboks, who are currently in Bloemfontein with a small group of players, mostly those who have returned from Japan. 

RG Snyman, before suffering burns in a freak accident this past weekend, was also nearing the end of his rehabilitation prom an ACL injury with the Boks looking particularly wounded at lock. 

De Jager's return, though, would be a significant step in the right direction. 

"Alex (Sanderson, Sale director of rugby) would need to be happy with his form and he must tick all the conditioning boxes and be medically fit, but that will be up to Sale," explained Nienaber. 

"Lood is going away very well.

"RG was doing fantastic and I saw his GPS stats last week before the burns. It is what it is and now obviously he's got a little bit of a setback."

The other major injury worry for the Boks comes in the form of No 8 Duane Vermeulen, who had surgery on an injured ankle on Wednesday and is now in a race against time to be for for the Lions

Nienaber is expecting to have all of the Boks together in camp before the end of June, with the first Test against the Lions set for 24 July at Cape Town Stadium.

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