- Western Province have confirmed that fullback Warrick Gelant will go under the knife after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.
- Assistant coach Norman Laker says the Springbok could be sidelined for nine months, but expressed hope of him recovering in six months.
- Gelant is therefore in a race against time to be fit for the Springboks' series against the British & Irish Lions next year.
Western Province fullback Warrick Gelant faces up to nine months on the sidelines, but there is hope that he could recover sooner to play for the Springboks against the British & Irish Lions next year.
The Cape union confirmed on Tuesday that Gelant would go under the knife after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his knee in last weekend's Currie Cup defeat to the Bulls at Newlands.
"Warrick has torn his ACL. The verdict is he'll probably be out for nine months. But with good rehab and the professional that Warrick is, it could easily be six months. It also depends on the operation, but so far it doesn't look too great for the rest of the season," assistant coach Norman Laker said during an online media briefing.
The Springboks' first Test against the Lions is less than eight months away - on 24 July - and Gelant will therefore be in a race against time to be fit for the series.
His absence will also be a hammer blow for Western Province as they'll be without their talisman for the remainder of the Currie Cup.
Gelant was a standout performer for the Stormers during the Super Rugby Unlocked event and to lose a player of his calibre will no doubt be dearly felt.
Regarding their options at fullback for the remainder of the competition, Laker noted: "We have a few options, we have Tim Swiel that can cover 15, Kade Wolhuter is still a youngster and we also have Tristan Leyds that can be backed up. We're in the same position at flyhalf, so we do have a few options that we can consider but we'll probably pick the best for the team going forward."
The 22-20 loss to the Bulls was painful, especially given the fact that the men from Pretoria played with 14 men for the majority of the second half after prop Jacques van Rooyen was shown a red card for a late hit on Gelant.
"There were obviously mixed feelings because we thought we did enough to win the game but at the end the score didn't show it. But there were a lot of positives we can take out of it. And we're looking forward to the weekend," Laker said.
The defence guru added that Gelant's injury was the only casualty from the Bulls game.
Western Province travel to Johannesburg to tackle the Lions at Ellis Park this Saturday, and Laker has stressed the importance of bagging a win.
"Every game in this competition is quite vital but we're looking forward to going up to Ellis Park, we know it's going to be a fast game up there... but looking at the weather reports, it might be raining as well with thunderstorms, so we've prepared for both types of games. But it's an important game and all the guys in the squad do know the importance of this game."
The Capetonians are currently third on the Currie Cup standings, with four wins from seven games.
They will name their team on Wednesday, with Saturday's clash at Ellis Park scheduled for 19:00.