Etzebeth ruled out through injury for next four months
Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth will miss the first three months of Super Rugby after failing to recover as hoped following a shoulder injury sustained last November.
Etzebeth‚ 26‚ suffered the injury during the Springboks’ 24-22 loss to Wales in Cardiff seven weeks ago.
The Stormers confirmed that he would be out for a further four months.
The Stormers’ first Super Rugby match is on February 17 against the Jaguares at Newlands‚ so it will be three months into the tournament before Etzebeth makes an appearance.
It’s a huge blow to the Cape side‚ who have a tricky start to the campaign.
Their opening home match against Jaguares will be followed by an Australasian tour to play the 2014 champions the Waratahs‚ the reigning champions Crusaders and the 2015 winners the Highlanders during the first month of the season.
Etzebeth has 42 Super Rugby caps compared to 67 Test caps‚ despite making his debuts at both levels in 2012.
Often injury has sidelined the giant lock during Super Rugby‚ which has not been to the Stormers' benefit‚ but has meant he has played almost all SA’s Test in that time.
Since 2012‚ when Etzebeth made his Test debut against England‚ the Springboks have played 73 Tests with the second rower missing only six of those.
In the same period the Stormers have played 98 matches‚ meaning Etzebeth has only been involved in 43% of the Cape side’s games compared to 91% of the Boks’ matches over the past five years.
Stormers coach Robbie Fleck declined to comment on the injury but the organisation confirmed that Etzebeth had seen “a multidisciplinary team of doctors regarding his shoulder injury” and was “being evaluated weekly”.