Kirsten's career on the line
Pretoria - Bulls prop Frik Kirsten faces an uncertain 24 hours as he waits to hear about a neck injury he sustained which could be career-threatening.
According to the supersport.com website
, Kirsten will seek a second opinion on Thursday after injuring a disc in his neck - the second time he has done this in his short career - during last weekend’s 25-17 win over the Lions at Loftus Versfeld.
While the Bulls have replaced him with stalwart Werner Kruger for this weekend’s Super Rugby match against the Blues, Kirsten’s future is by no means certain as he waits for the second opinion before making a decision.
Kirsten, 25, previously had an operation to repair a neck lesion in 2009, the same year he made his debut for the Bulls in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup and will definitely have to undergo an operation.
Team doctor Org Strauss said the injury was serious but that a final decision would be taken after another opinion was received.
“Frik injured a disc in his neck and will see another specialist tomorrow,” said Strauss.
“He is likely to be out for a long time, and it seems surgery is required to rectify the injury. We will wait for the opinion to be delivered, but at the moment it seems he may be out for around four months at least.”
The Bulls admitted to being worried about the long-term future of Kirsten, especially as he had become one of their rising stars after catching the eye of Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer last season, and was called up to the Springbok squad on their November tour last year.
“We are very worried,” coach Frans Ludeke said at the team announcement. “It is a bad injury and with front row players and their necks, it's always an injury you take notice of.
“We will await the result of the second opinion, but he is definitely out for this weekend. It sounds like he needs an operation, so he could well be out for the rest of the season, we’ll have to see.
Kirsten came through the Bulls junior ranks and has progressed well, being touted for a long international career with his powerful scrummaging.