De Jager to carry up a ‘unlikely’ milestone

Rugby

Lood de Jager will earn a fiftieth cap for South Africa of their Rugby Championship Test against Argentina in Nelson Mandela Bay on Saturday — a milestone that had seemed uncertain as he battled a career-threatening damage final 12 months.

De Jager, 28, is among the best second-row forwards within the recreation and his return to the Springboks facet throughout the British & Irish Lions series went a protracted technique to serving to the world champions to victory.

He was compelled off after simply 20 minutes of the 32-12 victory over England within the 2019 Rugby World Cup final, certainly one of numerous current setbacks that included an damage to the identical shoulder taking part in for Sale Sharks that left him questioning his future within the recreation.

“Clearly I’ve had just a few extra accidents than the conventional man,” De Jager mentioned.

“However that’s simply a part of my journey. You undergo these setbacks and then you definately come again stronger. Each damage, as dangerous and disappointing as it’s, is simply a part of your journey and you will need to see it like that.”

De Jager concedes it has been a tough slog on the Boks’ return to worldwide rugby after 20 months out, however he says that he, and the crew, will get stronger with every recreation.

“Match health is tough to get when you find yourself not a naturally match man. I’m not the very best in coaching, and nothing comes near match depth and what you want in a recreation,” De Jager mentioned.

“None of us actually had the preparation forward of the Lions collection we might have favored. I additionally bought COVID. With no pre-season to get correctly on top of things it’s troublesome to get match match.”

As for his fiftieth cap, De Jager has been a part of some the very best and worst of the Boks in recent times — profitable the World Cup and Rugby Championship in 2019 but in addition taking part in in shock defeats by Japan and Italy, and within the 57-0 humiliation by the hands of New Zealand in 2017.

“I’ve been lucky to expertise some actual highs of Springbok rugby however sadly there have been some actual lows that I’ve been a part of too,” he mentioned.

“However I consider the whole lot occurs for a purpose.”

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