Cheetahs sweating over key players

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 12:38

INJURY UPDATE: Cheetahs coach Franco Smith will be forgiven if he is a touch distracted this week.

While on a three-day Springbok training camp in Johannesburg - as one of the new members of Bok coach Allister Coetzee's backroom staff -  Smith will be sweating over the fitness of a number of key players.

Smith confirmed that injuries - suffered in the impressive 34-28 win over the Bulls at the weekend - are his biggest concern ahead of the Round Three encounter with the Sunwolves on Saturday.

Star lock Reniel Hugo, who injured his knee against the Bulls, is the most serious.

He could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Fellow forwards Retshegofaditswe Nche and Uzair Cassiem will undergo scans to determine the extent of the damage suffered to their medial collateral ligaments.

"They will be assessed before a call is made [on their availability]," the Cheetahs coach said.

Centre Clinton Swart took a blow to the ribs and will also be assessed.

Wing Sergeal Petersen, who suffered medial collateral ligament damage against the Lions in Round One, will be on the sidelines for another three to five weeks.

The good news is that captain Francois Venter is expected to be available for selection this week.

Venter, who underwent ankle surgery in December after aggravating a previous injury on South Africa's year-end tour, could lead the team against Sunwolves in Bloemfontein on Saturday, March 11.

Others who could return 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 said he accepted from the outset that injuries were going to be part of their season and is happy with the depth in the squad.

@rugby365com

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