18 Oct 2020
Lood de Jager missed the birth of his daughter Annah Fray, but he is making up for it now.
Lood, his wife Constance and their two-year-old son Elijah moved to Manchester in January after the Bok lock signed a four-year deal with the Sale Sharks.
Shortly after, Constance discovered she was pregnant. She opted to return to South Africa on 17 July for the birth, because of her family support network.
When Constance went into labour, Lood – who had remained with his club after suffering a shoulder injury – desperately tried to get home in time for the birth on 15 September.
However, with Covid-19 restrictions complicating international travel, the 27-year-old was at Amsterdam Airport when Annah Fray entered the world and he only arrived back in South Africa the following day.
'But he was on FaceTime when she was born,' Constance told You magazine. 'And he was really emotional.'
'It felt surreal,' Lood recalled. 'You can't imagine you've just welcomed a new baby while sitting in an airport.'
Lood has loved becoming a father for a second time, according to Constance.
'He just wants to hold her the whole time. I'm convinced he's the best dad in the world.
'He's totally hands-on. He'll change nappies or read Eli a bedtime story. Even when his schedule is demanding, he makes sure to put energy into family time.'
Lood, who had shoulder surgery in Cape Town shortly after returning to South Africa, is already thinking about having more kids.
'I want a lot of children,' he said. 'But I don't want to say it out loud because my wife might run away.'