London Irish fear Buckland has season-ending injuryBy Alan Manicom
August 29, 2012
London Irish fear that hooker James Buckland could be ruled out for the entire season by his knee injury.
Director of rugby Brian Smith Smith said: “He went to get his knee cleaned up in the off season, but it was so bad when they got in there that it may have written him off for the season.”
Buckland is due to see a specialist next month to get a clearer indication of when he is likely to return to action.
Exiles, though, have bolstered their front-row options by signing 19-year-old South African tight-head prop Richie Palframan from Durban-based Super Rugby team Sharks.
Palframan, the son of former South Africa one-day cricket international Steve, played for the Sharks’ under-19s in their opening five matches this season.
He holds a German passport and is therefore eligible to play in the UK without a visa.
He confirmed via Facebook that he’s very grateful to the Sharks for the opportunities they have given him, but has opted to join Exiles and will leave for England later this week.
Smith said: “He is an outstanding prospect. You can only really remodel your squad and make improvements when players come available.
“In terms of props - there was not much on the market earlier this summer.
“Now there has been a bit of a late run with guys making themselves available.
"We have taken a bit of a punt, but every move we are taking is improving us as a squad.
"He should be here by the weekend.”
Clarke Dermody, Faan Rautenbach and Paulica Ion have all left the club in the close season while fellow props Alex Corbisiero and Cai Griffiths have been sidelined by injury.
Griffiths, a summer signing from Ospreys, is set to return for Irish’s opening Aviva Premiership League game against Saracens at Twickenham on Saturday (live on ESPN, 4.30pm kick-off).
Exiles, who announced earlier this week that versatile young prop John Ryan has joined them on a short-term loan from Munster, will also welcome back club captain Dec Danaher and new fly-half Shane Geraghty from injury for the London Double Header.
New Fiji international prop Jerry Yanuyanutawa is expected to arrive by the weekend, but will not be rushed into action without having trained with the squad.
Irish will be without Joe Ansbro, who broke a bone in his neck in last Friday’s morale-boosting 34-10 win against Munster at Musgrave Park, as well as Corbisiero (knee), Chris Hala'Ufia (knee), Matt Garvey (knee), Ian Humphreys (concussion), David Sisi (muscle strain), David Paice (suspension) and Jebb Sinclair, who is on loan with South African club Stormers until their participation in the Currie Cup is at an end.