Johannesburg - Former Springbok hooker Tiaan Liebenberg may
be aiming at a shot at playing Super Rugby again, but he still has a long way
to go before it happens.
Liebenberg joined the Cheetahs on Thursday at their training
sessions, ostensibly as the first step to making a comeback after he retired
back in 2013 and hoping to play Super Rugby again.
But Cheetahs coach Franco Smith told SuperSport.com that while
he does not rule out the comeback, it is still a long way from happening and
currently Liebenberg has joined the team to impart his knowledge to the young
and inexperienced Cheetahs group ahead of a demanding season.
“Tiaan is very interested to be involved in rugby again,” said
Smith. “Whether that is as a player or in a coaching capacity, he wants to
equip himself again.
“He stays in Bloemfontein and he has a lot of experience,
and at the moment he has joined us to see what we are doing, but there is
currently no thought of playing him. He just wants to be involved and make a
difference. At this stage we are happy to tap into his experience, he is, after
all, a good friend of Cheetah rugby.”
Smith said that should Liebenberg want to play, he is very
realistic about his chances.
“He is 34 years old and he hasn’t played for a long time,
but he is realistic of his chances - he is training extremely hard and it is up
to him to decide for himself if he wants to give it a go.”
At this moment Liebenberg isn’t part of the Cheetahs
structures in any way, but his influence will help the likes of Torsten van
Jaarsveld, the likely No 1 hooker who played for Namibia in last year’s Rugby
Liebenberg told the Bloemfontein Courant that he was simply
looking to help out.
“At this stage all my focus is on getting the six hookers
that are here as well equipped as possible for the Super Rugby,” said
“I’m here out of my own will. I asked if I could come help
and come learn and this is where we are at now,” he added.
Liebenberg said he was impressed by what he saw.
“Very good. I think there is a lot of talent. Like what I’m
seeing from a technical point of view, the guys are well-equipped,” he said.
“I think Corniel (van Zyl) knows what he’s doing, Daan
(Human) knows what he is doing and with Franco (Smith) it’s a great coaching
“These are guys that played. In the past it was always
easier for me to listen to a guy that has been there and knows what it’s all
Time will tell if Liebenberg does make a comeback but with
the attrition rate in Super Rugby and injuries that inevitably come, Smith must
be happy to know he is around if he needs him.
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