Hammer blow for Springboks as Damian Willemse to miss Ireland series – report

Dylan Coetzee
Springbok Damian Willemse on the charge against Ireland.

Springbok Damian Willemse on the charge against Ireland.

Star Springboks full-back Damian Willemse is set to miss at least the mid-year Test series against Ireland after hurting his finger on duty with the Stormers.

The injury came early in the Round 17 clash between the Stormers and Connacht but Willemse opted to play on and according to Netwerk24 what was hoped to be a sprain is actually worse than feared meaning the star requires surgery.

Time out

The reported time off the pitch would be four months which could rule Willemse, who was key in the Rugby World Cup triumph last year, out for the highly-anticipated Ireland series and the Rugby Championship.

It is a massive blow for the Springboks who are already without Steven Kitshoff and possibly Lukhanyo Am due to injury now adding Willemse to that list is a concern.

Fortunately, Rassie Erasmus has veteran Willie le Roux to call on who has been outstanding for the Bulls in the United Rugby Championship alongside Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse in an electric back-three.

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Meanwhile, in the centres and front-row, there are some players who have put their hands up this season in a bid for Test selection.

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Stormers blow

As much as it is a blow for the Springboks it is also for the Stormers with Willemse easily one of their best performers this season. The Capetonians have one more round of the regular season to navigate before the playoffs.

Willemse’s injury is tough to handle but it opens the door for young prodigy Sacha Feinberg-Mngomzulu to step up and fill the void.

The starlet is extremely talented but has been slightly hampered by injury this season, fortunately for the Cape side he is back in action and eager to get on the field.

Aside from the former Baby Boks captain, they have impressive talent in the centres with Dan du Plessis and Wandisile Simelane to call on, while the in-form Suleiman Hartzenberg can also slot into the midfield if needed to.

The Stormers will be looking to finish strong against the Lions and then see where they need to travel for the quarter-finals with Glasgow their current destination as the table stands.

READ MORE: ‘I didn’t think I was going to the World Cup’ – Grant Williams’ unique journey to Springboks’ glory