Influential Edinburgh Rugby back rower Cornell du Preez may be out of action for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on the ankle injury sustained in Saturday’s Guinness Pro 12 win over Newport Gwent Dragons.
The South African, who has started every game so far this season, suffered the blow during the first half of the 24-10 success at Murrayfield.
A statement from Edinburgh read: “Cornell and all at Edinburgh Rugby convey our heartfelt thanks to the Paramedics from the Scottish Ambulance Service who attended to him on the pitch, to the orthopaedic department, trauma consultants and staff at the Royal Infirmary for their expertise and care during his stay, and to the many supporters for their goodwill messages.
“Now back in the care of the Edinburgh Rugby medical team, Cornell’s progress will be monitored over the next few weeks to enable a timeline for recovery to be put together.”
Du Preez’s absence is a massive blow as Edinburgh prepare to begin their European Challenge Cup campaign against Bordeaux-Begles on Friday.
Bordeaux coach Raphael Ibanez insists he will not allow his players to be drawn into a feeling of overconfidence following a stunning start to the French Top 14 campaign.
His side occupy third spot after nine matches, having bagged 15 tries and a tally of 110 points in wins against Clermont Auvergne and Castres Olympique over the past two weekends.
“I am fully aware that we were up against a Castres side that was weakened by several absences, particularly some key players”, said the 98-cap former international skipper who brought down the curtain on his playing career six years ago after five seasons in England with Saracens and London Wasps. “We have had the good fortune to put together two good performances at home.”
“We are only a third of the way through the season,” he added, saying that he will leave the current euphoria to the club’s fans. Bordeaux is currently the best-supported club in France with an average attendance of more than 20,000.
And Edinburgh’s cause has not been helped by a travel schedule that has left head coach Alan Solomons scratching his head. The players will leave at 5am on Thursday, fly from Edinburgh to Southampton before catching a plane to Bergerac then travelling two hours by bus to Bordeaux, where the players will have a run-out before returning to their hotel to prepare for Friday’s the match.
“We have a very tough game against Bordeaux,” said Solomons, who watched television coverage of the French outfit demolishing Clermont Auvergne.
And of the demands posed by the travel schedule, he added: “That I have not seen in my professional career to be honest.
“So it’s going to be a massive challenge for these boys playing against a top side. But what I am looking at is a real opportunity to rise to that challenge.”