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

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10