Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Compiled by Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Stormers, Springboks suffer Damian Willemse blow

The Boks get their season under way in a months' time when they take on Wales in London.

The Stormers, as well as the Springboks, have suffered a big setback following the news that key backline player Damian Willemse is expected to be sidelined for about four months because of a finger injury.

The now regular Bok fullback, who is also able to play flyhalf and centre, hurt his finger during the Stormers’ United Rugby Championship match against Connacht in Galway, Ireland at the weekend.

Time out

According to a report on Netwerk24, Willemse will have to undergo surgery to mend the injured finger, which will rule him out of action for the remainder of the URC season, as well as the Boks’ mid-year Tests and possibly also the Rugby Championship.

The Boks get their season under way on June 22 with a Test against Wales in London before returning homer for back-to-back Tests against Ireland. They also face Portugal in the latter stages of July.

Then it is on to the Rugby Championship and a double round of matches against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand.

Willemse has become a key member of the Bok squad, able to play in a number of positions and also serving as a backup goal-kicker.

Wiese and Kitshoff

The Boks are also likely to be without No 8 Jasper Wiese for some time following his sending off during a match at the weekend in the English Premiership for a tip tackle. Wiese is likely to receive a lengthy ban for the dangerous tackle and because Leicester Tigers have no further engagements this season his punishment is likely to carry over into the Test season.

This all comes after the news earlier in the week that prop Steven Kitshoff will also be missing for the Ireland Tests because of a knee injury. He is, however, expected to be fit for the Rugby Championship games.

The Boks were set to ramp up their preparations for the 2024 season from Wednesday with coach Rassie Erasmus hosting a second alignment camp in Cape Town, with 38 players invited.

This follows the first alignment camp which was held in April. No Sharks players have been invited to attend this week’s two-day gathering as they are involved in the Challenge Cup final against Gloucester in London on Friday.