Injured props a concern for Cheetahs

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 10:51
Large franco smith h s 800

PRE-SEASON SPOTLIGHT: Not only will the Cheetahs start the season without their captain and another centre, but two props are set to miss the entire season.

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith told rugby365 that tighthead is the biggest concern for him.

Props Luan de Bruin (lumbar disc) and Erich de Jager (plantar fasciitis) will both miss the entire season with injuries.

Centre William Small-Smith (hand fracture) and captain Francois Venter (ankle) will also miss the opening rounds of the competition with injuries.

However, Smith expects the two midfielders to be available from week three or four.

Venter, who first injured his ankle during the Currie Cup season and aggravated it on the South Africa's year-end tour, underwent surgery in December.

Small-Smith fractured three fingers on his right hand at training in January - after missing almost the entire 2016 Super Rugby season with a foot injury.

The Cheetahs are most likely to start with the impressive Nico Lee and Michael van der Spuy in the midfield against the Lions in Bloemfontein on February 25.

They also have Ali Mgijima and Lihleli Xoli to fall back on, while Sevens Springbok Ryno Benjamin is equally at home in midfield and on the wing.

However, prop is where the real problem lies.

De Bruin suffered a disc bulge (commonly referred to as slipped disc), which can press against or irritate the nerve where it exits from the spine.

De Jager tore a muscle in his foot, near his heel - an injury called a plantar fasciitis, which is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to the toes.

The fit props in the Cheetahs squad are Tom Botha, Johan Coetzee, Retshegofaditswe Nché, Günther Janse van Vuuren, Charles Marais and Danie Mienie.

The Cheetahs had a final pre-season run against the Griffons earlier this week.

They fielded two teams, one in each half.

While the session took place in the Free State Stadium and referee Marius van Rensburg was in charge, the coach said no scores were kept and no conversions were taken.

"It was more a contact training session than a match," Smith said, adding the goal to ensure the 'intensity' was high.

By Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 5 0 7 28
Waratahs 12 4 0 8 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 12 1 1 10 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 13 0 0 59
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 48
Highlanders 13 10 0 3 45
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 34
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19