Stormers flyer Leolin Zas’ worst fear has come to pass.
The Cape Town fanchise on Monday confirmed the 21-year-old winger will be out of rugby for a year after breaking his leg during Saturday’s 57-40 warm-up win over the Lions at Newlands.
And if you’re wondering why he’ll be on the sidelines for so long – Zas broke both the fibula and tibia of his left leg.
That means the long, thin bone of his lower leg as well as the larger bone between the knee and ankle has been fractured.
In any book, that’s a massive, serious injury.
“I feel really sorry for Leolin,” said Robbie Fleck, the Stormers’ head coach.
“It was going to be a big year for him.”
Zas had already impressed in the Stormers’ mediocre Super Rugby campaign last year.
To compound the franchise’s problems, Springbok centre Juan de Jongh will also be absent for at least three months.
De Jongh sustained ligament damage to a knee.
The problem with him being missing is that it robs the Stormers of leadership.
De Jongh was co-captain last year with prop Frans Malherbe.
Zas’ void has already been filled by the experienced Bjorn Basson, who’s moved on after the Bulls deemed him a surplus to requirements.
And now, it’s also been revealed that another veteran, Joe Pietersen, is training at Newlands.
The 32-year-old proved a fine recruit for the Sharks in 2016 but at this stage it seems unlikely that he’ll feature for the Stormers unless there’s a pressing need.
“He’s contracted to go back to Japan at the end of the year and he merely wants to stay fit in their off-season,” said Fleck.
“He is here to help, to groom some youngsters. And if we need to call on him we can. So it’s a good relationship we’ve got with Joe. We’ll play our youngsters and back them but Joe can help out in an emergency.”