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South African rugby captain’s injury not serious

JOHANNESBURG, May 3 (Xinhua) — John Smit, captain of South Africa’s national rugby team the Springboks and the Super 14 team from Durban was on Monday cleared of serious injury.

After Saturday’s match against the Bulls in Pretoria, which the Sharks lost 27-19, there were fears that Smit had sustained serious neck injury which would rule him out of the Springboks’ games against Wales, France and Italy in June.

However, Smit announced on the social networking site Twitter on Monday that the damage was not severe.

"Thankfully no spinal damage, just some soft tissue issues so hoping it will settle for Saturday," Smit said.

The news will be welcomed in Durban, given that the Sharks lost Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis to a serious neck injury in the build-up to the crunch game against the Bulls.

Du Plessis underwent surgery on a damaged vertebra in his neck on Thursday morning and Sharks head coach John Plumtree said on Saturday that early speculation that the combative hooker would be out for only six weeks was way too optimistic.

"The injury is far more serious than that and he is not expected to play for at least three months," he told Sport 24 on Monday.

The Sharks will play the Stormers from Cape Town on Saturday in Durban.

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