Cheetahs without Juan
Bloemfontein – Free State Cheetahs will have to continue their Currie Cup campaign without captain and Springbok flank Juan Smith for now.
Smith is concussed and will therefore not be considered for Saturday’s Currie Cup match against the Pumas in Witbank. After that he is expected to join up with the Springboks for the home leg of their Tri-Nations campaign.
The Bok star had to leave the field during the second half of Saturday’s 13-25 defeat to the Sharks after suffering a blow to the head.
Corné Uys is also likely to miss the Pumas clash due to sore ribs. The inside centre was replaced by Meyer Bosman as early as the 20th minute against the Sharks. The seriousness of Uys’s injury will be determined at a later date.
JW Jonker, who played as a loan player for the Griffons on the wing last Saturday, is expected to cover for Bosman on the bench.
Smith’s place on the flank is likely to be taken by Francois Uys, with Bosman likely to do duty in midfield.
Free State coach Naka Drotské said that Smith’s injury was a blow and he would not be risked.
“Had it been a semifinal or final,we may have considered him. But he’s not available.”
The match in Witbank would also have beem Smith’s last for a while in the Free State jersey.
The Bok squad for the home Tri-Nations matches against the All Blacks and Wallabies is expected to be announced on Saturday and the team will convene in Johannesburg on 15 August.
South Africa’s first home game is on 21 August against the All Blacks at Soccer City.
Smith’s condition will be monitored and he’s likely to undergo tests on Monday again to determine his availability for the Boks.
Free State will have to learn to cope without Smith if they want to remain title contenders.
They led the Sharks 13-6 when he left the field, but appeared rudderless after that and allowed the Sharks to come back at them.
Meanwhile, Springbok prop CJ van der Linde is likely to continue in the role of impact player.
Drotské said that he and tighthead prop WP Nel would both play a half and that Van der Linde makes a bigger impact when play is a little loose.