Springbok captain Jean De Villiers is set to be out of rugby for at least eight months following the knee injury suffered during South Africa’s 12-6 loss to Wales on Saturday. At this stage it looks unlikely that he’ll be fit in time for the World Cup.
De Villiers twisted his knee under in a ruck 17 minutes into the second half in Cardiff. His cries of pain could be heard on the live feed, and just as commentator Jonathan Davies said that there won’t be replays because of the ugly nature of the injury, one was shown.
The 33-year-old centre went in for the turnover, but was cleared out and as Toby Faletau attempted to twist and move him, the Welsh number eight’s weight bent De Villiers’ leg in the wrong direction.
He was actually well set but it’s a prime example of the risks involved in going in for a turnover in that body position. His loss was massive for the Springboks on the day, as they usually finish well but sorely lacked his leadership in those final twenty minutes.
He will require surgery on the left knee, with all eyes on the Rugby World Cup next year. He dislocated his kneecap and reportedly tore his hamstring at the same time too, so it’s going to be a long year of hard work ahead.
A statement on Monday afternoon said that the scans revealed significant ligament damage to the knee, so he will require a surgical reconstruction of the knee.
UPDATE 04/12/2014: De Villiers underwent a successful operation in Stellenbosch earlier today. He had a full reconstruction of the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments of his left knee, with an artificial graft as well as a repair of the medial collateral ligament.
“The procedure went well, but at this stage it is difficult to determine an exact return to play time-frame,” said team doctor Craig Roberts. “The use of an artificial graft should speed up his rehabilitation and hopefully increase his chances of making a successful return to the playing field.”
De Villiers said: “I would like to thank every medical practitioner involved in my injury, from Saturday when it happened until today’s operation.
“My focus will now be on the arrival of our third child in the coming days. Thereafter it will be about recovering as soon as possible so I can start with my rehabilitation. I still have my sights set on going to next year’s Rugby World Cup and will do everything in my power to get to England.
“I would also like to thank everyone for the well-wishes and support in the last week, it means a lot to me and my family and we really appreciate every message.”