Saracens hooker Brits sidelined by knee ligament injury

 
Ross McLean
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Brits will be sidelined until the new year
STRICKEN Saracens hooker Schalk Brits faces a prolonged spell on the sidelines after suffering knee ligament damage during the club’s opening European Champions Cup fixture with French side Clermont Auvergne on Saturday.

The 33-year-old South African forward sustained the injury during the second period at Allianz Park, only taking the field and replacing fellow hooker Jamie George 10 minutes after half time in a game which Mark McCall’s side edged 30-22 thanks to two tries apiece from Chris Ashton and David Strettle.

Brits has made more than 100 Premiership appearances for Sarries since joining from Western Province in 2009, with tomorrow’s surgery the first step on the road to a protracted recovery.

“Schalk is due to have surgery and will then commence rehabilitation with the club’s medical staff,” said head of medicine Joe Collins. “Brits is not expected to return until well into the new year.”

The influential hooker has seven international caps to his name having added to his Springbok haul during the summer internationals and the 2014 Rugby Championship, having made his international debut for South Africa in 2008.

The former Super Rugby powerhouse has chalked up a host of accoldates since joining the Saracens ranks, including the Rugby Players’ Association’s Player of the Year in his first season in English club rugby as well as two nominations for the Premiership Player of the Year gong. He was rewarded for his performances with a new three-year contract in January 2012.

Saracens, meanwhile, will make their traditional return to the City and play a side from the British Army at the Honourable Artillery Company ground on Thursday 14 May 2015.

The first clash between the two sides dates back to the turn of the previous century, with next year’s showdown falling a week after the Army tackle the Navy at Twickenham.

“The Army will provide fantastic opposition in the City,” added Saracens chairman Nigel Wray.

“The Honourable Artillery Company ground will naturally feel like a home ground for them with it’s military association and we look forward to another great occasion, bringing elite rugby into the Square Mile.”