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Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Cloete heads Kings injury blow



The unavailability of key player Chris Cloete heads what has effectively been a triple blow for the Southern Kings in the build-up to their Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Brumbies at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

The Kings are eager to follow up their excellent win over the Sharks with a win over the Brumbies that would be their fourth victory in succession and also their third in five starts against Australian opposition this season.

However, the loss of their openside flank and ace ball scavenger could be keenly felt.

To compound his absence for coach Deon Davids, there has also been a setback in the comeback of the other excellent Kings ball scavenging loose-forward CJ Velleman.

Velleman would have been a perfect replacement for Cloete, who was one of four Kings players called up by Springbok coach Allister Coetzee to next week’s national training camp, but he damaged the same knee that kept him out for nine months during training.

Kings team doctor Konrad von Hagen has confirmed that the 22-year-old will have to undergo another operation so is likely to be out for some time.

Cloete won’t be out for too long – he has been ruled out for this week because of concussion sustained in the bruising 35-32 win over the Sharks but Von Hagen is hopeful he will be available for the trip to Johannesburg to face the Lions on 28 May.

The non-availability of Cloete could be offset slightly by the possible return to action of former Lions loose-forward Ruaan Lerm. A decision will be made on Lerm’s fitness later in the week.

Also likely to be out with injury this week is nippy fullback Masixole Banda, who has sustained a hamstring injury.

The full extent of the injury and how long Banda will be ruled out for will be ascertained by scans but Von Hagen said he is unlikely to be available for the Brumbies match.



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