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Rhinos confirm Van Der Berg absence

Leeds Rhinos Netball have announced details of why the South African is not with the squad so far this seassn.

Leeds Rhinos Netball have confirmed that South African international Elmeré van der Berg will no longer be joining the Netball Super League team for the 2023 season after it was confirmed her recent injury would rule the goal-shooter out for the majority of the campaign.

Van der Berg was scheduled to join the Rhinos in January following international duties but this date was pushed back after the 21-year-old picked up an injury. Following the setback, the club and player have now agreed to terminate the playing contract to give Van der Berg time to recover and allow the Rhinos to bring a replacement player into the squad.

The club have also been in contact with Netball South Africa regarding the fitness of Nicola Smith who signed for the club for this season. The defender is still rehabilitating from an injury and is not expected to be able to join the Rhinos in the foreseeable future.

Commenting on the announcement, Rhinos Franchise Director Dan Busfield said: “We are obviously disappointed that we won’t see Elmeré play for the Rhinos this year. Given the delay to her arrival and the start of our season, both ourselves and Elmeré felt it was right to end her contract for this year and give her the time she needs to rehabilitate her injury with Netball South Africa and we wish her the best with her recovery.

“As a club, we have looked to support both Elmeré and Nicola Smith following their operations last Winter but there are obvious logistical difficulties with them both being based in South Africa and we have relied upon Netball South Africa for their expertise on their injury rehabilitation.

“We have been in regular contact with Netball South Africa around the injuries to both Elmeré and Nicola, unfortunately, the time scales we were given for clearance to travel have been moved on a number of occasions. With our season having now started, it is essential that we have a full squad available to Liana Leota hence our decision on Elmeré and the need for clarity with Nicola. We remain in discussions with Nicola to get a better understanding of whether she will be able to join the Rhinos this season and hope to have a final decision in the near future.”

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