Another injured Cheetah heads home
The Cheetahs' tour troubles deepened on Monday when it was confirmed that another injured player will return home.
The Cheetahs' Super Rugby tour troubles deepened on Monday when it was confirmed that another injured player will return home.
Backline coach Hawies Fourie told this website, in an interview from the team's training base in Auckland, that burly centre Francois Venter would be returning to Bloemfontein.
He joins Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen, who returned home earlier from the tour with a neck problem - although the front row forward may actually return to the playing field sooner than expected.
"Francois [Venter] dislocated his shoulder [in the loss to the Hurricanes] at the weekend," Fourie said.
"He will go for an MRI scan once he returns to Bloemfontein."
The Cheetahs assistant coach said the injury doesn't look too serious, but they won't know the full extent until he has gone for the scan.
It leaves a big hole in the Cheetahs midfield, ahead of their Round Six encounter with the Blues.
"We will make a call on Tuesday who will come into the midfield," Fourie told this website, adding that one of Sevens Bok Rayno Benjamin or Griquas midfielder Howard Mnisi would move into the No.12 shirt.
"Either one of them will play at No.12," he said, adding: "[Johan] Sadie will stay at outside centre."
Mnisi may be the logical choice, given that he is a specialist No.12.
Bringing Benjamin in at inside centre could be a huge risk, given that All Black Ma'a Nonu is set to return for the Blues in the No.12 jersey.
Mnisi was on the bench for the Cheetahs in two games at the end of last season and came off the bench against the Stormers for his only Super Rugby cap - after working his way through the Varsity Cup ranks at NMMU in Port Elizabeth, before securing a contract with Griquas last year.
* Meanwhile, Fourie revealed that scans in Bloemfontein confirmed that Oosthuizen's neck injury is not as serious as expected and he could be back on the field after their return from tour.
The Cheetahs, who play the Blues in Auckland on Saturday, have a bye in Round Seven.
"It seems that he [Oosthuizen] will be available for our game against the Chiefs [on April 5], the week after our bye."
Although the team has not received all the details yet, the feedback from the medical staff is that the Bok prop should be available for the game against the Chiefs.
Initially it was feared that his career could be on the line, given his long history of neck injuries in the last three years, but he has now been given the green light to resume playing.
Bok wing Raymond Rhule, who injured his ankle against the Hurricanes, is on the mend and will be considered for the encounter with the Blues.
By Jan de Koning