The Toyota Cheetahs will have to do without Heinrich Brüssow for the opening 6 rounds of their 2014 Super Rugby season after the loose forward tore a ligament in his toe.
The Springbok flank, who was due to return to the Cheetahs to take part in this year’s Super Rugby competition, sustained the injury while playing his first season for Japanese club Docomo Red Hurricanes.
The 27-year-old flank will be on the injury list for three months after he undergoes an operation on his injured toe in South Africa on Saturday.
The injury could deal a heavy blow to Brüssow’s Springbok aspirations this year as the forward has fallen out of favour with Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and he won’t take part in the Currie Cup in 2014 due to commitments with his Japanese club.
The openside flank will miss the first six matches of the Cheetahs’ Super Rugby season and will only be available to coach Naka Drotske after the team’s overseas tour.
It will be the second consecutive year the Cheetahs will have to make do without Brüssow for part of their Super Rugby campaign after he suffered a shoulder injury that ruled him out for five months in 2013.
“It is a huge blow to lose Hein for the beginning of the season. He is a world-class player,” Drotske said.
“Fortunately, we have depth at loose forward.”
Drotske was confident his loose forward stocks consisting of Lappies Labuschagne, Philip van der Walt, Frans Viljoen, Boom Prinsloo and talented youngster Jean Cook, would be able to cover for Brüssow in his absence.
The Cheetahs begin their season with home games against the Lions (Saturday 15 February at 17:05) and the Bulls (Friday 21 February at 19:10), followed by games against the Rebels (Friday 28 February at 10:40), Reds (Friday 7 March at 10:40), Hurricanes (Saturday 15 March at 05:35) and Blues (Saturday 22 March 22 at 08:35) on their overseas tour.