Prayer saved me - WP prop
Cape Town - Schalk Ferreira will make his long-awaited return to the rugby field at prop for Western Province when they tackle SWD in a friendly at Outeniqua Park in George on Tuesday.
In 2009, three specialists told the 27-year-old he should never play contact sport again after undergoing a second neck operation.
But according to Die Burger newspaper he's back onto the playing field after a prayer and a visit to another specialist.
"I was visited by a missionary friend of mine, Phillip Conradie, and asked him to pray for me. After that I started training and a specialist in Pretoria, Daan de Klerk, did tests and a scan.
"He said my neck responded well to the operation (of 2009) and that I could play prop again."
And Ferreira has no doubt that his friend's prayer played a role in his recovery.
"I believe it's a miracle."
Ferreira played the last of his 68 first class matches at hooker for Boland against Western Province on 26 September 2009. Before that, he also played 47 games for WP and 16 for the Stormers.
Ferreira was always deemed too light for a prop at 95kg, but he has since trained hard to increase his muscle mass and now weighs 115kg.
"My first goal is the Vodacom Cup competition, but Allister Coetzee (Stormers coach) said I might get another chance at Super Rugby level if I prove myself," said Ferreira.
Western Province: 15 William van Wyk, 14 Ghafoer Luckan, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Berton Klaasen, 11 Ederies Arendse, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Ricky Schroeder, 8 Nic Fenton-Wells (captain), 7 Reuben Johannes, 6 Rohan Kitshoff, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Sidney Tobias, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Substitutes: 16 Yako Madoda, 17 Pieter Stemmet, 18 Alistair Vermaak, 19 Hilton Lobberts, 20 Donovan Armand, 21 Tyrone Holmes, 22 Yaya Hartzenberg, 23 Andries Truter, 24 Kurt Coleman, 25 Michael van der Spuy, 26 Tim Swiel, 27 Taariq Davids.