Saracens set to be without De Kock and Owen
January 13, 2009
Saracens scrum-half Neil De Kock is out for 12 weeks with a broken arm © Getty Images
Saracens' bid for a Guinness Premiership playoff place has been dealt a considerable blow with the news that both Michael Owen and Neil De Kock are facing lengthy injury layoffs.
South African scrum-half De Kock broke his arm during Saturday's 37-13 win over Bristol at Vicarage Road, and is expected to miss 12 weeks after discovering that the injury requires surgery.
Owen will miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee-reconstruction surgery after sustaining an injury against Gloucester early in the New Year.
"It's a blow as Neil and Michael are very important members of the squad," said Saracens Director of Rugby Eddie Jones. "Neil picked up the injury against Bristol and it says a lot about the man that he got to his feet to make a tackle despite having already suffered the injury.
"Michael picked up a knee injury against Gloucester and it proved to be more serious that we first thought. He's had to have reconstructive surgery and that will rule him out for the rest of the season. It's frustrating news as he has been playing very well for us this year."
Jones also laid down a challenge to the Saracens squad members that will now need to step-up and replace two senior figures within the side. Scrum-half Moses Rauluni will likely fill the void in place of De Kock, while Owen's absence may open the door to young talents such as Don Barrell.
"The strength of your squad is determined by the depth of your squad and the other back rows and scrum halves in the team will need to step up," said Jones. "We have enough cover in the back row but with only two halfbacks in the first team squad, we may look to bring in another player as cover."