RG Snyman’s decision to spend the off-season stocking his safe has cost the Bulls dearly after the Springbok lock returned from Japan with a serious ankle injury.
“Scans revealed the injury was much worse than anticipated and he will have to undergo surgery,” Bulls team doctor Herman Rossouw told Supersport. “He will be on the sidelines for an eight-week period.”
With Super Rugby set to kick-off in a fortnight, the lock’s two-month layoff means the Bulls will have to make do without Snyman when they take on the Stormers, Jaguares, Lions, Sharks and Chiefs in the opening six rounds of the competition.
Losing the only forward short-listed for SA’s 2018 Young Player of the Year award will severely impact the Bulls’ plans to complement the experience of new additions Duane Vermeulen and Schalk Brits with young kamikazes.
Politics and a weak currency have driven South Africans abroad and, in a bid to retain talent, SA franchises have been willing to release players from Currie Cup duty for a lucrative stint in Japan.
“We all know how difficult it is to keep our top players in the country, especially with the Rand weakening in the last few weeks,” Bulls HP manager Xander Janse van Rensburg said in 2017 when Snyman first agreed to moonlight with Honda Heat.
“While the situation is not ideal, the deal allows RG to experience the Japanese culture and play abroad, but still return to play for the Bulls next season. It also keeps RG eligible for the Springboks. Players of this calibre are always targets for top teams, especially in Europe, and we are happy that we have RG available for the Bulls for the foreseeable future.”
Snyman’s immediate future is in a moonboot and his situation is the latest in a case study of what is “not ideal” about players skipping their offseason, and having one season blend into the next.
Damian de Allende and the Stormers paid a similar penalty in 2016 when the Bok centre returned from Kintetsu Liners with an ankle injury and spent much of that season struggling to regain his form.
“I had four days off before going to Japan,” De Allende told Netwerk24. “I arrived on the weekend and had to be on the training field on Monday. To get no rest, took its toll on my body.”
De Allende opted not to return to Japan at the end of 2016. It’s a decision that certainly benefited the Boks and Stormers, but it’s unlikely that those two parties will often win the tug-of-war when players have to choose between realising their maximum earning potential and staying fresh for less money.
— Staff Writer