Cheetahs' injury woes mount
Johann de Jager
Bloemfontein – The Cheetahs’ injury crisis deepened on Monday when hooker Adriaan Strauss was ruled out of Saturday’s Super14 match against the Blues with a shoulder injury.
The Springbok hooker is set to undergo surgery so that he can play in the Currie Cup later this year and is expected to be sidelined for three months.
Ryno Barnes will therefore continue between the props and will get a duel against experienced All Black hooker Keven Mealamu. Free State No 2 Skipper Badenhorst will also link up with the Cheetahs this week.
Tighthead prop WP Nel also has a foot injury and will not be considered. Nel was injured in the second half of the last tour match against the Chiefs and is being rested as a precautionary measure.
Coach Naka Drotské will have to apply his mind to finding a suitable replacement that will be able to front up to All Black loosehead Tony Woodcock. Kobus Calldo and Boela du Preez are both contenders.
Good news for the Cheetahs is that flanker Frans Viljoen and lock Waltie Vermeulen are both available.
Viljoen missed the tour of Australia and New Zealand after breaking his cheekbone against the Stormers in Cape Town.
Vermeulen missed the last of the four tour games with an ankle injury.
Meanwhile, the Blues will be without two skilled backs in centre Luke McAlister and wing Rudi Wulf.
McAlister sustained a hamstring injury against the Sharks, while Wulf is becoming a dad.
It has been reported that lock Anthony Boric has recovered from an ankle injury, while utility back George Pisi will also join the side.