Lood de Jager was outstanding for the Bulls in their 40-3 demolition of the Stormers in their Super Rugby opener at Loftus Versfeld. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

He’s had to work hard to get back to full fitness, but now Lood de Jager has again been sidelined by injury.

After missing most of the 2018 season, De Jager made his return to the field from a chest injury during the Springbok tour to Europe late last year, and was outstanding for the Bulls in their 40-3 demolition of the Stormers in their Super Rugby opener at Loftus Versfeld.

But the trip to Buenos Aires to face the Jaguares went south for the Bulls in every respect. Not only were they beaten 27-12, they lost their captain De Jager to a shoulder injury.

Coach Pote Human and the rest of the team have been waiting with bated breath to see how bad the damage was, and media reports in the last 24 hours of De Jager being out for the rest of the year wouldn’t have helped.

But there’s finally some clarity. Bulls team doctor Herman Rossouw, during his regular Monday medical update, stated that De Jager will be out of action for “at least four months”, which will take him to the end of June.

With the Super Rugby final scheduled for July 6, it is unlikely that De Jager will be seen in a Bulls jersey again this season.

But Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus will be delighted to know that the big No 5 should be ready for the international season leading up to the World Cup, which starts on September 21 with the blockbuster clash against the All Blacks in Yokohama.

“Lood de Jager, who injured his shoulder against the Jaguares – he consulted with another specialist in Cape Town, and the decision was made that he will undergo surgery tomorrow,” Rossouw said in a video on the Bulls’ Twitter page on Monday.

“This will mean that Lood will be on the sideline for at least four months – which means that he will only return at the end of Super Rugby.”

Youngster Eli Snyman did a good job of standing in for De Jager in the 30-12 win over the Lions at Ellis Park at the weekend, and Bok lock RG Snyman is also expected to be back on the field in a few weeks.

Rossouw added that flank Ruan Steenkamp, who went off in the second half against the Lions with concussion, should be ready to face the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (5.15pm), while the likes of Burger Odendaal and Johnny Kotze may be back after the following week’s bye.

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