Rugby-Sharks forward Alberts faces layoff following surgery

DURBAN, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Sharks loose forward Willem Alberts will miss the start of the Super Rugby season after his franchise revealed that the South Africa international will undergo surgery on a shoulder injury on Tuesday.

Alberts will be out for at least four weeks after what the Sharks described as a "small procedure" on an ongoing problem that has already kept him out of two pre-season friendlies.

He is one of five Sharks regulars who will miss Saturday's opening match away at the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein through injury, officials said.

The 27-year-old Alberts has played in the last nine internationals for South Africa and has 20 test caps in total. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by John O'Brien)