Johnson set for last hurrah

2012-07-10 07:49

Johannesburg - Springbok loose forward Ashley Johnson looks set to make his last appearance on South African soil in the Cheetahs' starting line-up after an injury to Justin Downey ruled him out of this weekend’s final Super Rugby match against the Sharks in Durban.

According to, the Cheetahs have little except pride to play for, but know if they upset the odds, they can ensure they have their most successful Super Rugby season ever.

At present they sit on five wins, and there would be no better way to say goodbye to a good servant such as Johnson than to bid him farewell with a victory.

Downey dislocated his finger and was the only casualty from the loss to the Stormers, although the Cheetahs must once again be kicking themselves for not taking their chances.

Johnson will join English Premiership club Wasps after the Super Rugby competition and has been an excellent servant to Free State rugby, although he has not played as much rugby as would have been expected this season, as coach Naka Drotské has rotated his loose trio consistently during the season.

The Cheetahs will also be looking for a better kicking performance from flyhalf Riaan Smit, who only slotted two of his five kicks against the Stormers while it will also be a farewell in Super Rugby terms for Sias Ebersohn, who will join the Force next season as he moves to Australia.

Ebersohn will still be available for the Currie Cup however.


  • lionel.kemm.9 - 2012-07-10 08:06

    Good luck Ash..........go out with a bang.

      jason.children - 2012-07-10 08:44

      Now there is a guy who leaves it all out on the field! Give his heart to Spies and you will have a monster!

      lionel.kemm.9 - 2012-07-10 08:47

      Spot on once again Boet.

      bootman.bokke - 2012-07-10 08:48

      You'd have to give Spies his heart and his brain.

      frans.visserdsb - 2012-07-10 10:40

      Always rated him - good solid performer, always gave 100%. Just never able to take the step up to international level.

  • - 2012-07-10 08:20

    Ash you are a true sporting hero and a gentleman both on and off the pitch. May you enjoy your last game on home soil and know that we will be missing you. good luck to you and your familie living the pommie life and looking foward to your clash with the Sharks' loosies this weekend. keep well my brother!!!

  • heinrich.vanjaarsveld.52 - 2012-07-10 09:29

    Na na na hey hey good bye ash won't be missing you thanks for leaving and please Naka get rid of Sias now please he's a waist let the Ausies take him

      Stormkaap - 2012-07-10 12:01

      If your rugby knowledge is as good as your spelling, well then you know very little about the game.. it's a ''waste'' not his ''waist''

  • michael.f.cooper.37 - 2012-07-10 09:43

    @heinrich.. As jy nie engels kan spel ni, praat eerder afrikaans. Jy maak jou naam gat.. Chop!

      ckrohne1 - 2012-07-10 22:48


  • steven.chiaberta - 2012-07-10 11:15

    Ash was great. He didn't take the step up in internationals, but maybe he would have if he'd been given an extended run, especially in the second half impact role. But unfortunately there are so many good loosies in SA who stepped up straight away. How old is he? Maybe he can come back an even better player in a year or two and make it then..?

  • henco.swart - 2012-07-10 14:04

    Maybe it could have been better if Spies left for European Rugby and left the real stars in SA? But I do agree, maybe Spies needs a heart-transplant... When Spies exploded onto the scene, everyone were like 'Wow!!!'... These days, he looks average, if that. I think he got some prize as 'Most promising youngster' in 2006... He should return it. He still has the ability to be the best, but I am thinking that he wants to play Rugby as long as possible... rather than giving his all and 'exceeding'. Heroes put their bodies on the line, but I haven't seen Spies do that in a very long time. But I also don't think that our coaches know how to use him effectively... We saw Spies' speed, and he is quick. So, move him to wing, centre, or impact player... Or get him to run at the opposing centres and wings. Johnson bring a lot more to the game than Spies does... Johnson are able to bash it up, but also give that pass that puts the wing in a gap to score. If Johnson had Spies' physique, he would have been the best 8th man in the world. Better than Duane, Kanko, and Kieran Read.

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