The Bok camp has confirmed that Bismarck du Plessis will undergo surgery today to repair serious damage to the ligaments in his right knee. This is the result of an injury sustained in the opening minutes of Saturday’s Rugby Championship win over Argentina.
It has further been confirmed that a rehabilitation period of around eight months lies ahead of the fiery hooker, curtailing his participation in all rugby until around April 2013. While the repercussions for the Boks – and their Rugby Championship campaign – are significant, in Adriaan Strauss, Tiaan Liebenberg and now Craig Burden, they should have sufficient cover to almost compensate for the loss of du Plessis.
The repercussions for the Sharks, though, appear to be far worse – and not just for this year’s Currie Cup campaign either.
Let’s not beat around the bush here. Losing Burden – for at least the next month until Chiliboy Ralepelle returns from his own knee injury – could be a hammer blow to the Sharks’ Currie Cup ambitions this season, given that Kyle Cooper is still out injured himself for at least another month. In Monde Hadebe they have a fine young player who should be backed, but finding somebody to wear the number 16 jersey for the next month is going to prove challenging indeed. Hell, the only recognised hooker in the under 21 ranks is Franco Marais, with Sean Everitt’s side regularly taking the field with no backup at hooker other than starting loosehead Danie Mienie.
The Sharks are going to have to look at calling up either Marais or Mienie for the next month; the alternative to that is to go to the club ranks in the hope of a good player being available to step up, but the bigger worry is next year’s Super Rugby campaign.
With Bismarck set to miss the opening two months – at least – of that competition, it becomes vital that both Burden and Cooper, whose respective contracts expire at the end of the year and are both understood to be “open to other offers”, are retained. We saw how the Sharks were derailed by losing Tendai Mtawarira for a similar period at the start of this season and how their campaign only really got properly under way once the all-star front row that is their key strength was reunited. We know know that Super Rugby in 2013 will start the same way, but at least now the Sharks bosses have been given 6 months’ warning. Let’s hope they wake up and get their house in order and do so quickly.Tweet