Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Johannesburg - Springbok Jongi Nokwe’s hopes of making the Grand Slam tour at the end of the year hang on a tiny thread at the moment after news that he has torn medial ligaments in his knee.
Nokwe would have been one of the main candidates for the tour as he has international experience, is highly regarded by the selectors and is a strong finisher. With Bryan Habana set to be rested for the five week trip, Nokwe will now face a race against time to be ready in time.
Free State Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske confirmed Nokwe’s injury, saying the team were hoping for some good news on Tuesday.
“He went for the MR scan on Monday and we will know the full extent of the injury later on Tuesday. But it looks as if he has torn his knee ligaments and is out of the rest of the Currie Cup.”
For the Cheetahs, the loss of Nokwe, their most potent strike force is a massive blow, especially with the Currie Cup entering its final straight this year.
Drotske will have to choose between Riaan Smit and Corné Uys to fill Nokwe’s speedy boots, but neither have the pace of the Bok winger.
With Lionel Mapoe still awaiting the outcome of the urgent interdict that the Cheetahs have brought against him to try and compel him to rejoin the team, the Cheetahs are a bit thin on the outside.
Drotske will at least have fullback Hennie Daniller, lock Waltie Vermeulen and flank Hendro Scholtz back for this weekend’s big clash against the Lions in Bloemfontein.
The coach was unmoved when asked about the recent hype surrounding the Lions, and how dangerous they can be.
“They are a good side and we know that. But we also have won six of our last seven games in the Currie Cup, and we have beaten Western Province and the Blue Bulls in those games as well, so we have a lot of confidence as well,” Drotske told SuperSport.com “We are also in Bloemfontein, and we always back ourselves at home.”