Anxious times for Van Niekerk

Clarity on the immediate playing future of Springbok loose forward Joe van Niekerk at the Northampton Saints should be achieved on Friday.

Van Niekerk’s agent Cathy van Niekerk, who is also his mother, responded to media queries about the former Stormers player’s future with the Northampton team.

“Unfortunately we can’t comment [on the matter] at this stage. There should be comment by Friday,” Cathy van Niekerk told this website.

There is considerable uncertainty surrounding the former Stormers number-eight as Saints Rugby waits for the outcome of independent tests on the player’s injured back.

It was reported in the Chronicle & Echo last week that the injury could impact on his future with the Northampton based team.

Saints Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder made it very clear that the club needed to make sure Van Niekerk’s back was ‘right’ before the move could go ahead, which might create somewhat of a problem for Van Niekerk. The former Stormers player landed in England last Thursday nevertheless.

Van Niekerk has struggled with a lower back injury over the past year, which ruled him out of the Springbok end-of-year tour in 2006 and the World Cup in France.

Van Niekerk’s signing was announced by Saints in June, but contractual obligations meant the 27-year-old, who has 46 Springbok caps, wasn’t allowed to leave Western Province until last week.


365 Digital

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