‘A massive loss’ – Springboks star undergoes emergency surgery to ‘give him a chance’ for July Tests

Colin Newboult
Kurt-Lee Arendse of Bulls

Kurt-Lee Arendse of Bulls.

South Africa wing Kurt-Lee Arendse underwent surgery on Sunday after he suffered a fractured cheekbone while playing for the Bulls.

The 27-year-old started for the Pretoria outfit in their United Rugby Championship quarter-final against Benetton, but was forced off after 29 minutes of the 30-23 victory.

Arendse touched down twice during his time on the field but his absence deprived the Bulls of one of their primary attacking weapons for the final hour.

International chances

Following the injury, the Springboks star will miss the rest of the URC season, but he has not yet been ruled out of the Boks’ mid-year Tests against Ireland.

“They will put a plate in and try and get him back [on the field] as quickly as we can,” Bulls head coach Jake White said in his post-match press conference on Saturday. “We want him ready for the Tests. Every player wants to be in the Test squad.

“Credit to our medical staff, who found a doctor that will do the surgery tomorrow [Sunday] morning.

“It is great for players to know the medical staff put their interest first. That gives him a chance to be back when the international window starts.”

Bulls made to work hard in quarter-final victory over Benetton

White stated that Arendse’s injury was akin to the one suffered by France’s Antoine Dupont during the Rugby World Cup.

Dupont sustained the fracture on September 21 against Namibia but was back for the quarter-final encounter against the Springboks on October 15.

“It’s a little like the Dupont injury. Dupont got the operation the next day,” White added.

Bulls’ key absentees

As for the Bulls, they go into a semi-final clash against Irish giants Leinster after an unconvincing triumph over Benetton.

Part of that subpar performance could be down to their injury issues with Arendse following fellow internationals Marco van Staden and Canan Moodie in being sidelined.

“It’s almost uncanny. We’ve got four World Cup winners, three of them are now out,” White said.

“What are the chances of that? All of a sudden you lose Marco, then you lose Canan and now you lose Kurt-Lee.

“[It] is a massive loss – not just for us but for the Springboks when they get into this [year’s] campaign.”

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