Rugby

Cheetahs lifeline for Viljoen

2013-01-09 09:00
Frans Viljoen (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Thirty-year-old flank Frans Viljoen has been handed a Super Rugby lifeline by Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské.

According to the Volksblad website Viljoen, who is currently without a contract, has been given a chance to play himself into the Cheetahs' Super Rugby squad.

A string of injuries have prevented the flanker from producing his best form over the last few years. He was only contracted for last year's Currie Cup and when he again broke his arm three games into the competition, he was not offered another contract.

He came close to the form he showed before leaving for Italian club Aironi in 2011, earning a man-of-the-match accolade against his former side, Griquas, before injury struck.

"Frans phoned me and asked if I'll give him a chance. So we're looking to see if he can play open a spot for himself," said Drotské.

Vijoen will get his chance in warm-up games against the Lions in Johannesburg (January 26) and the Bulls in Polokwane (February 6).

"He will get a fair chance in the warm-up games and could even start in the first Super-game against the Sharks if he shows his worth.

"He gets a chance just like everyone else."

Viljoen's presence probably played a role in the coach sending Justin Downey and Leon Karemaker back to Griquas last week.

Vijoen will compete with players like Tertius Daniller, Marnus Schoeman, Davon Raubenheimer and Boom Prinsloo for a spot in the team, while other loosies Lappies Labuschagné (ankle), Philip van der Walt (knee), Heinrich Brüssow (shoulder) will return from injuries.

Springbok flank Juan Smith (Achilles) will make a decision regarding his playing future later this month.

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