Severe Samuels injury pave way for Scarra comeback

22 August 2018 - 15:29 By Craig Ray
Ramone Samuels during the DHL Stormers training session and top table media conference at High Performance Centre on March 19, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Ramone Samuels during the DHL Stormers training session and top table media conference at High Performance Centre on March 19, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images

Western Province have been dealt two severe injury blows before starting the defence of their Currie Cup with hooker Ramone Samuels and flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis ruled out of the campaign.

Samuels suffered a knee injury during last week’s 26-7 loss to Montpellier in France‚ as part of the team’s Currie Cup preparations. It could end his season while Du Plessis is taking medical advice about whether to have another hip operation.

The 22-year-old has a hip defect and missed most of the 2017 season and the first three months of the 2018 Super Rugby campaign after a series of operations in the USA.

“Last year it was the other hip that was injured and he was out for six months and this time it is a different hip with the same injury so I guess you can figure it out for yourself‚ but we are hopeful that he won’t have to undergo an operation this time‚” said WP coach John Dobson.

The severity of Samuels’ injury indicates he will be out for several months and it paves the way for Scarra Ntubeni to have an extended run as the starting hooker.

Ntubeni is one of several players who were placed on a transfer list by the cash-strapped union recently‚ but with Bongi Mbonambi on Bok duty and Samuels out for now‚ he has moved up the pecking order.

Ntubeni’s career has been plagued by injuries – ankle‚ groin and hamstrings – but he appears to be in good health and Dobson is excited to see what the one-time Bok squad member can bring.

“It is a serious injury‚’ Dobson said of Samuels’ setback.

“ I am not sure about the exact timeframe or diagnosis. It is one of those ones that you don’t want to watch again‚ when you see it on the tape.

“[Ntubeni] brought a lot on and off the field.

"What was nice is that towards the end of the Supersport Rugby Challenge he started to find his form again. I have no doubt he will be back to his best if he stays on the field for one or two games.

‘”Scarra realises that he is almost in [the] last-chance saloon in terms of the injuries. ‘It is not Caster Semenya’s body that.

“He is putting in a lot to ensure he stays as fit as he can. He was brilliant in the quarterfinal of the Rugby Challenge [against the Free State XV] and unfortunately picked up a stinger with 20 minutes to go.

“I thought it was the old Scarra that we saw on tour. Ramone went off after only five minutes against Montpellier‚ so for Scarra to go there‚ scrum and play as well as he did was pleasing. I am really excited about him.”

Captain Chris van Zyl‚ flank Johan du Toit (knee) and lock Cobus Wiese (neck) will miss this weekend’s match against Free State at Newlands.

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