Could South African franchises be handicapped again in the new edition of Super Rugby due to kick off in only eleven days?
All six franchises have reported mild to very serious injuries stemming from pre-season matches and some the result from last season.
The latest injuries reported from last weekend at the Cheetahs is that of prop Danie Mienie who dislocated his shoulder in the warm-up clash in Port Elizabeth last weekend, won 21-11 by the Cheetahs against the Kings.
Mienie is at least out of their opener against the Jaguares in Bloemfontein next Friday evening, February the 26th, while the suspected ankle injury of lock Lood de Jager is not as serious as first suspected.
The Lions already will have to wait until April before they can welcome back flank Derick Minnie whose knee injury last season has seen him missing out on the Currie Cup triumph, while the latest injury is that of scrumhalf Ross Cronje who broke his nose in the 28-24 loss to the Bulls in their warm-up clash in Polokwane last weekend.
They will also be without wing Sampie Mastriet who broke a collar-bone in the warm-up matches against the Valke and the Leopards a week earlier.
The Bulls have already lost Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard for the entire season due his knee ligament operation last week, while they will be without star flankers Deon Stegmann and Lappies Labuschagne after both suffered ankle injuries which will see them miss about two months of action.
The Stormers have also suffered two big injuries to Bok midfielder Damian de Allende and Jaco Taute who have both suffered ankle injuries which will rule them out not only of the opening game against the Bulls at Newlands next Saturday but also from the side’s first five to six matches.
The Sharks have already lost their captain and Bok flyhalf for the first half of the season when Pat Lambie suffered AC joint damage to his shoulder in the 29-21 win overseas against a below-strength Toulon side.
During that game former Cheetah fullback Joe Pietersen was moved into the pivotal position with Garth April coming on as a reserve at fullback, however in the next match abroad April was entrusted in the No 10 jumper and he didn’t disappoint as he scored 21 points in the 31-17 win over Toulouse.
Bok fullback and ex-Cheetah Willie le Roux also missed the first game against Toulon but returned for his first outing in a Sharks jumper against Toulouse.
Following the recent contact session against the NMMU Madibaz, a few Kings players have also picked up injuries.
Southern Kings Head Coach, Deon Davids, said Lukanyo Am had sustained a bruised knee, while Malcolm Jaer and Jurgen Visser both had tight hamstrings, which would be monitored ahead of the Southern Kings clash against the SWD Eagles in their first official warm up match in George.
Other players who are on the injury list and undergoing rehab are Phillip du Preez, with an ankle injury, Aidon Davis and Louis Fouche, with knee injuries, Jaco van Tonder, who is recovering from an ACL injury sustained last year and Kevin Luiters, with a strained calf.
Cornell Hess had also been sent home due to illness, said Davids.