Powerful South Africa and Stormers second row Eben Etzebeth has been ruled out of action for a further four months with a shoulder injury, the Stormers have confirmed.
The 26 year-old forward, who has impressed as skipper for the Boks since taking over the captain’s armband from the injured Warren Whiteley during the summer series against France, suffered what looked like a badly dislocated shoulder during his team’s narrow 24-22 defeat to Wales at the start of December.
67 times-capped Etzebeth, one of South Africa’s few bright spots in another disappointing season for the ‘Bokke’, has seen different doctors about the problem and is being continually assessed but is yet to return to training with the prognosis being that he will be out for at least four months.
One of the Stormers’ key men, the Cape Town-born hardman will miss the franchise’s opening Super Rugby clash against Jaguares on February 17 at Newlands in a hammerblow for coach Robbie Fleck and his men.
As well as being set to miss most of the Super Rugby season, the 6ft 8in, 18st 8lbs behemoth is also a doubt for the start of South Africa’s three-Test series against England in June.
An excellent lineout operator and big ball carrier with a high tackle count, Etzebeth is one of the world’s best second rows and both the Stormers and South African management will anxiously be awaiting his return.