Rugby has a storied history that easily predates the kind of padded, professional football games of America. Since 1750, the hard hitting sport has been played with the inevitability of serious and continuing injuries. And today, the game is mostly played on international levels with few professional tournaments held within individual countries. Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman earned Oscar attention for their portrayal of a South African rugby player and president Nelson Mandela who worked together to use the rugby as a means for unifying a broken and racially divided nation.
Unfortunately, because rugby is a harsh contact sport that excludes most padding from the players, more injuries are commonplace on the field. On Monday, Gary van Aswegen, one of the most prominent players for the South African Western Province team went down for a second time with a nagging injury to the knee. Apparently, he was urged to get back into the field of play before the proper time for healing had passed. Now, with another surgery looming, Aswegen is probably out for quite some time.
“Gary has partially torn the same ligaments that he injured during the Super Rugby season,” said Coach Allister Coetzee. “He will be wearing a brace for two weeks and then he will have to go through six to seven week of rehab, which means that the whole recovery process will take eight to nine weeks.”
This will certainly impact their ability to go for a 33rd Currie Cup title (the last one came in 2001), but perhaps a lesson will be learned about pushing players, even international ones, who simply are not invincible.
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