SA latest – Du Preez crocked

Keo.co.za brings you news from South Africa’s Super Rugby franchises.

Du Preez crocked – Fourie du Preez will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a knee injury, which will see him miss the rest of 2011 Super Rugby season if the Bulls don’t make the play-offs.

Bulls doctor Org Strauss initially believed that the Springbok scrumhalf would be out of action for the next three weeks. However, Strauss confirmed after scans on Monday that the injury is more serious than thought as Du Preez has suffered a Grade 2 injury to his medial ligaments.

Francois Hougaard will start in the No 9 jersey in Du Preez’s absence.

Kearney linked to Stormers – According to reports up north, Ireland fullback Rob Kearney could join the Stormers’ squad for the back-end of their Super Rugby campaign.

Ireland want the injured Kearney to get some game time ahead of the World Cup and have contacted the Stormers in an attempt to organise a short stint in Super Rugby. The fullback has been sidelined with a serious knee injury since Ireland’s defeat to the All Blacks last year.

If negotiations are successful, Kearney will join the Stormers when they return from Australasia. The Stormers’ management have declined to comment on whether this rumour has substance or not.

What has been confirmed is that Derick Hougaard won’t be joining the Cape side, as he has recently undergone surgery and will be out of action for the next few months.

Lionel Cronje’s season-ending knee injury has forced coach Allister Coetzee to call up the inexperienced Kurt Coleman, and it is understood that the Stormers management is still looking for a more seasoned head to provide back up to Peter Grant.

The Stormers have now lost two flyhalves to knee injuries (Cronje and Gary van Aswegen). Grant still has to come through a fitness test on Tuesday, but is expected to start against the Brumbies.

Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie, who both missed last week’s match because of injury, will be available for selection.

Van der Linde returns home – CJ van der Linde has been forced to return to South Africa with a hip-flexor injury. The Stormers have called up Frans Malherbe as cover for the front row, and Brok Harris is likely to replace Van der Linde in the starting line-up for Saturday’s game against the Brumbies.

Cheetahs lose Benjamin – Ryno Benjamin has received a two-week ban for his headbutt on Stirling Mortlock last Saturday.

The incident occurred in the dying minutes of the Cheetahs’ 41-21 win over the Rebels, which saw the wing red carded. He received his sentence at a Sanzar disciplinary hearing on Monday.