Cheetahs put Willie on ice
The Cheetahs will put their most prized asset on ice till the Super Rugby season starts. Jan de Koning reports.
The Cheetahs will put their most prized asset on ice till the Super Rugby season starts.
Backline coach Hawies Fourie confirmed that a minor shoulder injury, suffered in the opening pre–season outing against Shimlas last Friday, will mean Springbok Willie le Roux will be put on ice.
Le Roux bruised his shoulder in an awkward fall in the Bloemfontein outing last week.
"He is fine," Fourie told this website, when asked about the star Bok's injury.
"It is more precautionary that he won't play this week," the Cheetahs mentor said, adding: "If we were playing a [Super Rugby] league match this weekend, he could have played.
"We are not going to risk him in the pre-season and there is also a good chance he won't feature against the Pumas next week either.
"We know exactly what he brings [to the game] and we'll rest him.
"With a player that is your first-choice you will handle him with care - you don't risk your top players," Fourie added.
Le Roux, who emerged as the country's most potent attacking weapon since he made his Bok debut during the quadrangular tournament against Italy, Scotland and Samoa last year, will be key to the Cheetahs' cause this season.
He is now the Cheetahs' first-choice fullback, even though he played on the wing for them in 2013.
With three quality wings in the squad - Bok Raymond Rhule, as well as Sevens internationals Cornal Hendricks and Rayno Benjamin - the Cheetahs can afford to play Le Roux in his preferred position this season.
Hennie Daniller, who was the first-choice fullback last year, will fill the No.15 jersey in the games against Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University on Tuesday, against the Southern Kings on Saturday and the Pumas next week.
While Le Roux won't feature, the Cheetahs will welcome back injury-prone Springbok Johan Goosen when they face the Kings, after the flyhalf made a full recovery from his knee surgery.
Goosen will play one half against the Kings and a full game against the Pumas next week.
By Jan de Koning