Petersen blow for Cheetahs
INJURY UPDATE: The Cheetahs will be without the services of star wing Sergeal Petersen for at least the next month.
Cheetahs coach Franco Smith, who spent a substantial portion of this week in Cape Town after being appointed as a Springbok assistant coach, confirmed that Petersen will be sidelined for four to six weeks with medial collateral ligament damage.
He suffered the injury in last Saturday's 25-28 loss to the Lions in the opening round of Super Rugby.
Seasoned Sevens Springbok Ryno Benjamin will come into the starting XV, to fill the void created by Petersen's injury, when the Cheetahs host the Bulls in Round Two in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Smith also confirmed that none of his previously injured players - including captain Francois Venter - will return this week.
Venter, who underwent ankle surgery in December after aggravating a previous injury on South Africa's year-end tour, is expected to return to action against Sunwolves in Bloemfontein on March 11.
Others not available this week include William Small-Smith (fractured hand), Michael van der Spuy (concussion) and Shaun Venter (hamstring injury).
Props Luan de Bruin (lumbar disc) and Erich de Jager (plantar fasciitis) will both miss the entire season with injuries.
Smith, speaking to rugby365 ahead of the Round Two encounter with the Bulls, said they have been working very hard on the breakdowns this week.
He felt that is one aspect that cost them against the Lions.
"We will also look to improve our confidence and build continuity with ball in hand," the Cheetahs coach said.
"We said from the outset that we will 'build an innings' in Super Rugby, just as we did in the Currie Cup.
"Only time on the pitch will improve that."
By Jan de Koning