Smith on the mend for RWC
Juan Smith (Gallo Images)
Bloemfontein – There is a fairly good chance that Juan Smith may be able to recuperate in time for this year’s World Cup in New Zealand.
The Springbok flank underwent surgery to his Achilles on Monday after sustaining a partial tear of the tendon in Friday night’s Super Rugby match against the Bulls.
It is expected that the Cheetahs captain will be fit again in about six months. He is expected to be ready for action in August.
The opening match of the World Cup is on September 9 and the Springboks play their first game against Wales on September 11.
It was initially feared that Smith’s Achilles tendon had been completely torn and that he would miss the showpiece altogether.
While Monday’s news was better than anticipated, Smith will be in a race against time to make the deadline for the selection of the Boks’ World Cup squad.
Cheetahs team doctor Ian Morris said that the operation went well and that things are looking encouraging for the Bok.
“We are planning on having him fit for the World Cup. There is definitely a chance that he can recover in time. If everything goes well, six months is not an unreasonable recovery period. He will be able to play in August and the World Cup starts at the beginning of September,” said Morris, who helped with the operation.
Smith will not train at all for the next two months and will start with rehabilitation after that period. If there are no further complications, he should be ready in August.
His injury so early in the Super Rugby season may well be a blessing in disguise for the Boks. Had it happened any later, he would definitely have been ruled out of the World Cup.
Meanwhile, the Cheetahs will not field Springbok flank Heinrich Brüssow against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.
Brüssow made his return from a knee injury for Free State’s Vodacom Cup team against the Falcons last Friday.
He only played for 40 minutes after being on the sidelines for almost a year.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské said that Brüssow would run out again for Free State in a Vodacom Cup match against the Pumas on Saturday and is expected to be available for Super Rugby the following weekend.
More good news for the Cheetahs is that flank Frans Viljoen (hamstring) is only expected to be sidelined for a week. It was earlier thought that he would be sidelined for approximately four weeks.