Cheetahs sweat on Bok quartet

Tue, 29 Jan 2013 17:26
Large goosen and coenie630 Large juan smith   heinrich bruss

The Cheetahs are hoping to get their crop of injured Springboks back in action before they head overseas on their crucial early-season tour.

The Cheetahs are hoping to get their crop of injured Springboks back in action before they head overseas on their crucial early-season tour.

The Free State side open their Super Rugby season with a home game against the Sharks before they travel to Australasia on a tour which could well define their season, so it is no surprise that they are anxiously monitoring the fitness of star players Juan Smith, Heinrich Brussow, Coenie Oosthuizen and Johan Goosen.

With those four Boks at their disposal the Cheetahs have a serious chance of throwing off the early-season sluggishness that has plagued them in previous campaigns, so the fitness of the star quartet will be of primary concern in the next few weeks.

Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie explained to this website that although all four have different timeframes for their expected recovery, the Cheetahs are hopeful that they will all be available for their first game on tour against the Chiefs in Hamilton on March 2.

Smith has been out of action for the best part of two years with an Achilles injury, and will make his first tentative steps in his comeback this weekend when he will be used off the bench in the pre-season game against the Stormers.

Fourie commented: "Juan is doing well so he will get a bit of game-time this weekend, he will play maybe 15, max 20 minutes and then we will give him some game-time against the Bulls again next week."

Brussow underwent shoulder surgery in October and may be available for the Chiefs clash along with Oosthuizen who has been battling a recurring neck issue, but the prognosis is better for Goosen who is expected to recover from his knee injury in time to make an appearance against the Bulls next weekend.

"Heinrich might only be ready for the first game on tour, we will try to get him ready for the Sharks game but he won't be able to play in any of the warm-up games.

"Coenie will start training with the team from next week onwards but we will phase him in, especially with the contact and scrumming sessions - we will take it slowly so I think he won't be able to play next weekend against the Bulls but hopefully he will be ready for about 30 minutes against the Sharks.

"Goosen will be ready to come back against the Bulls so he might play a half next week, which will be great for us," said Fourie.

The Cheetahs backline coach stressed the need to make a strong start to their season, as they have had to try and play catch-up too many times in the past.

With that in mind the Cheetahs management are intent on using their pre-season fixtures to look closely at all the options available and ensure that they take the form players overseas when they pack for New Zealand.

"When the competition starts we need to start better than previous seasons so we need to pick the guys that are on form at the moment.

"We play the Chiefs just after the Sharks and it is always a tough trip to travel there so you have to pick guys that are on form when you go overseas, you can't give them two or three games to warm up," he said.

As a result the team to face the Stormers this weekend shows 14 changes from the side that ran out to face the Lions last week, with a number of Griquas players getting an opportunity to stake a claim for a spot in the touring squad.

Fourie said that whilst the star quality of their Springboks will be an important factor this year, they also need reliable depth to ensure that they are able to roll with the inevitable punches.

"That is the strength that the Griquas add to our Super Rugby team, they add a lot of depth to our squad and a lot of competition for places as well," he explained.

By Michael de Vries

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 25 June 2016
Japan v Scotland 10h30 Nagoya
Italy U20 v Japan U20 11h00 Manchester
Griffons v Free State Cheetahs 12h10 Welkom
Griquas v Sharks 13h00 Kimberley
Georgia U20 v France U20 13h15 Manchester
Argentina U20 v South Africa U20 13h30 Salford
Boland v Namibia 14h00 Wellington
South Africa v Ireland 15h00 Port Elizabeth
Scotland U20 v Wales U20 15h30 Manchester
Australia U20 v New Zealand U20 15h45 Salford
Ireland U20 v England U20 18h00 Salford
Argentina v France 18h10 Buenos Aires
Sun, 26 June 2016
United States v Russia 02h00 Sacramento
Canada v Italy 16h00 Toronto
Fri, 01 July 2016
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Hamilton
Brumbies v Reds 09h40 Canberra
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
Sat, 02 July 2016
Jaguares v Blues 22h00 Buenos Aires
Sunwolves v Waratahs 05h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Blues 07h35 Wellington
Rebels v Stormers 09h40 Melbourne
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 8 0 4 34
Waratahs 12 7 0 5 34
Rebels 11 6 0 5 27
Reds 13 3 1 9 16
Force 12 2 0 10 12
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 10 0 2 45
Chiefs 12 9 0 3 42
Hurricanes 12 8 0 4 40
Highlanders 12 8 0 4 38
Blues 12 6 1 5 30
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 1 4 36
Bulls 12 7 1 4 32
Cheetahs 12 3 0 9 17
Sunwolves 11 1 1 9 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 9 0 3 42
Sharks 12 7 1 4 35
Jaguares 12 2 0 10 14
Kings 12 2 0 10 9