Boks back in Cheetahs pack

2010-01-06 09:53
Juan Smith (File)
Jóhann Thormählen

Bloemfontein – The Cheetahs started their training for 2010 on Tuesday with a return of a few of their big guns.

Springbok flankers Juan Smith and Heinrich Brüssow trained for the first time with an enlarged squad for the Super 14.

Hooker acquisition Skipper Badenhorst also sweated it out with his new team-mates for the first time since making the move from the Sharks.

The Cheetahs already started training in November for the Super 14, which kicks off on February 12. It was their first training session since December 18 following a festive break.

Smith has to date trained on his own because of a knee injury, while Brüssow was given a well-deserved break following the Boks’ return from their European tour.

It is Smith’s return, in particular, that has pleased coach Naka Drotské.

Smith injured his knee ligaments in a freak accident on his farm outside Bloemfontein in September. He could not play for the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup as a result.

His last game was on September 5 last year for the Boks against the Wallabies in their Tri-Nations clash in Brisbane.

He missed the team’s last Tri-Nations game against the All Blacks in Hamilton because of back and hamstring injuries.

That is why he will be out to demonstrate his class all over again, and a good Super 14 can be expected from him.

Drotské said that the players are enthusiastic about the year ahead.

“There’s a great spirit among the players and we can’t wait to start playing again,” he said.

The Cheetahs will get clarity over the next few weeks whether they will be able to bring Sharks flyhalf Monty Dumond in on a draft. The Sharks still have to decide whether they want to use him.

Meanwhile, injured players such as Meyer Bosman (centre, knee), Louis Strydom (flyhalf, knee), Rudi Mathee (lock, knee), Robert Ebersohn (centre, ankle) and Lionel Mapoe (wing, calf) are training separately.

Philip Snyman (centre, shoulder), Bjorn Basson (wing, ankle) and Adriaan Strauss (hooker, shoulder) also trained on Tuesday, but will have to wait before they can start taking contact.

All of the above players should join up with the squad this month. Most of them will be available for the Cheetahs’ two training games. They play Eastern Province in Port Elizabeth on January 23 and a Namibian Invitational side in Windhoek on January 30.

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