Cape Town - Lock De Kock Steenkamp will return to South
Africa after being released from his contract by Welsh club Ospreys.
Steenkamp recently underwent surgery on an ongoing hip
It brings to an end an injury ravaged 14-month spell with
the team that has seen the lock restricted to just two competitive appearances
at the start of this season.
The 28-year-old signed from the Stormers in September 2014 but
an Achilles injury sustained within days of his arrival at Llandarcy Academy of
Sport meant he missed last season in its entirety, returning to full training
for this pre-season.
Having come through the summer months, Steenkamp then
stepped up his involvement with an appearance in the pre-season win over
Saracens before making his competitive debut, starting in the PRO12 opener away
A second appearance followed off the bench against Munster
the following week but he then found himself sidelined once again after
reporting hip instability to Ospreys’ medical team.
After further investigation, Steenkamp underwent surgery at
the weekend and, having assessed all options, both parties have agreed to the
A dejected Steenkamp told Ospreys’ official website:
“The way that it has turned out is really frustrating for
everybody, really disappointing. Once I’m well enough to travel I will head
home to concentrate on trying to get fit again.
“I had high hopes coming to the Ospreys last year. It was a
new challenge for me, one that I thought would be a good experience, but injury
has meant I haven’t been able to have an impact. It’s really unfortunate that I
can’t help the team, particularly at a tough time like this, which is what I
was brought in for with my experience.
“Being part of the Ospreys family will always mean something
to me, even if I’m disappointed with the outcome, everybody has been fantastic
with me since day one and I’ll take great memories home with me. It’s just a
shame I leave without being able to repay the faith they showed in me.”
Ospreys’ general manager, Andrew Millward, added:
“De Kock leaves the Ospreys with everyone’s best wishes. He
was signed last year to give a young squad some much needed experience during
the periods when we lose our internationals but, unfortunately, was unable to
make the desired impact due to injury.
“Losing De Kock was another setback in our plans for this
year, to have a spine of experience in the squad, along with losing people like
Andrew Bishop and Ashley Beck. Rory Thornton has stepped up to the plate and
been exceptional but it is a hell of a workload for a young man with limited
topflight experience, the kind of experience that someone like De Kock would
have brought to the group.
“When you add in things like the injuries to the Canadians,
who we had anticipated coming back in at the start of last month, fresh and
raring to go, and the injury to Webby, there’s no doubt it’s been a challenging
time for us, but we’ll overcome it.
“We wish De Kock the very best for the future as he recovers
from surgery and returns home.”