Semi Radradra set for lengthy spell on the sidelines

Date published: October 2 2021 - News Desk

Bristol Bears have suffered a hefty injury blow with the news that their star centre Semi Radradra has been sidelined for an anticipated four months.

The Premiership club’s director of rugby, Pat Lam, revealed the news after his team’s 25-20 victory against Bath on Friday night.

Going under the knife on Monday

Lam said the Fiji international will undergo knee surgery on Monday after sustaining the injury during his country’s victorious campaign at the Olympic Sevens tournament in Tokyo.

“Semi is going to have to have surgery on his knee,” said Lam. “We are looking at him having surgery on Monday, and he will end up with probably 16 weeks (out). It was in the semi-final in the Olympics.

“At the end of the day, there is a lot of rugby to be played when he gets back.

“We will certainly be on the look-out for a replacement to come in for that period of time when he is out.

“It is around his cartilage and ligament. The good news is that the surgery will fix it 100 per cent.”

Bristol condemned Bath to a third successive Premiership defeat of the season.

The Bears, Premiership semi-finalists in each of the last two seasons, had started the campaign with two defeats but a second-half rally saw them home from nine points adrift.

A penalty try and a touchdown by replacement hooker Jake Kerr erased Bath’s advantage, leaving the visitors to reflect on their worst start to a Premiership season since 2005.

Bristol claimed a first-half try by captain Steven Luatua, while fly-half Callum Sheedy kicked two penalties and a conversion as they climbed off the Premiership basement.

Wing Will Muir scored two tries for Bath and there was also a touchdown by Semesa Rokoduguni, with fly-half Orlando Bailey adding a penalty and a conversion, yet a losing bonus point will not have masked their frustration.

Bristol prop Kyle Sinckler became the first of England’s British and Irish Lions in South Africa this summer to make a Premiership return while his fellow tourist, Bath back Anthony Watson, went on as a second-half substitute.

A rest and pre-season period until the middle of October was mandated for England elite player squad members, but there was provision for clubs to apply for players to return earlier on a case-by-case basis.

That meant Premiership clubs applying to a professional game board sub-committee – the player performance management group – that was established three years ago and has to agree any variation to individual player release.

Sinckler was named man of the match and he told BT Sport: “I can’t just sit in meetings and train and not contribute. I wanted to put my body on the line.

“I was a bit rusty out there but I just wanted to put everything out there because I love the game and I love playing.

“I know there was a mandatory rest time, but I pride myself on being virtuous and I try to be so committed in everything I do. It showed how much it means to myself and my team-mates.”

Bath were vastly improved from last weekend’s lame display against Newcastle, but they had to again content themselves with a losing bonus point.

Rugby director Stuart Hooper said: “I am disappointed to come out on the wrong side of the result.

“I am massively confused about some of the (officials’) calls, which I will pick up in the week through the right channels, but I am so proud of the effort.

“Some of the scrum decisions, I am not sure what is being seen there. It’s something that was confusing for me to watch, and I’ve been in the game for 20 years.”

Jack Willis taking recovery in his stride after knee surgery

Meanwhile, Wasps and England back-row Jack Willis is taking his recovery from a major knee injury in his stride as he refuses to be sucked into timelines.

Willis, 24, has revealed that he is currently running twice a week after seeing his promising rugby career stalled just over seven months ago.

A Six Nations bow against Italy saw him score a try, but ended shortly afterwards when he suffered serious ligament and meniscus damage.