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Cheetahs sweating on the Goose

Mon, 18 Feb 2013 22:22
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We will wait and see how their bodies react to training
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The Cheetahs coaching staff will hope Springbok flyhalf Johan Goosen comes through Tuesday's training session unscathed.

The 20-year-old flyhalf, capped four times for his country last year, has made a satisfactory recovery from shoulder surgery and a foot complaint and is a good bet to start in the Cheetahs' opening Super Rugby match.

They will welcome the 2012 beaten finalists, the Sharks, in Bloemfontein on Saturday, and the return of the Cheetahs' Bok No.10 will set up a delectable head-to-head between two talented young pivots - Goosen and Patrick Lambie.

Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie confirmed that Goosen and Bok prop Coenie Oosthuizen  - back after his back and neck injuries last year - are both in line to be named in the team on Wednesday.

Both trained with the team on Monday and will again work out with their Cheetahs teammates on Tuesday, before a final call is made on their availability for Saturday.

"We will see how they respond to the training, how their bodies shape up, before we make that call," Fourie told this website.

Fourie said Goosen has trained just three times in the entire pre-season and Oosthuizen only started training with the team last week and even those weren't full sessions.

If their bodies show any signs side affects from two days of tough training, the Cheetahs will not risk the two Boks.

"We don't want to expose them unnecessarily to injuries by bringing them back too early," the Cheetahs' assistant coach said.

"We will wait and see how their bodies react to training."

Goosen, who left his mark on the Super Rugby scene last year before he suffered a serious shoulder injury against the Highlanders, also struggled with a heel injury.

However, his biggest setback was the knee injury, which required surgery, which he suffered in the Test against the All Blacks in Soweto.

In the pre-season the heel against became tender and inflamed, but has now responded to treatment and Goosen looks set for a return to action this week.

Oosthuizen, who suffered a succession of neck and back injuries last year, has been steadily working his way back to full fitness and Tuesday training is also crucial to his cause.

Other good news for the Cheetahs is that veteran Bok flank Heinrich Brussow is schedule to make his comeback against the Chiefs next week.

Brussow injured himself in a Currie Cup encounter against Griquas in October last year and underwent surgery.

He is on course for a return a few weeks earlier than anticipated. It was the second major injury for Brussow last year, after he missed a lengthy long spell because of a knee injury and he was schedule to return only towards the end of March.

"Heinrich [Brussow] is not ready yet," Fourie said, when asked about this week's selection, adding: "He should be ready to face the Chiefs next week."

By Jan de Koning

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