Experienced Springbok flank Juan Smith is fit to represent the Cheetahs in their warm-up game against the Sharks in Abu Dhabi.
Pieter Jordaan writes for Volksblad that Smith has had enough rest to recover from the concussion he suffered in South Africa’s test against Scotland in November.
He was included on Monday in a 24-man Cheetahs squad that will travel to Abu Dhabi next week to play a friendly match against the Sharks.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské said Smith should be in tip-top condition for Abu Dhabi. The game is an important part of the Cheetahs’ preparations for the Super14 and it will be to the team’s benefit to have their skipper available from the outset.
Smith missed a chunk of the Cheetahs’ Super14 campaign in 2008 due to injury and his absence was felt.
This year he could be part of a tough-as-teak loose-trio with Heinrich Brüssow and No 8 Frans Viljoen. There are other accomplished loose forwards in Hendro Scholtz and Schalk van der Merwe.
The game against the Sharks will provide the Cheetahs’ loose forwards with a decent training run against Ryan Kankowski, Jean Deysel, Keegan Daniel and Jacques Botes.
Viljoen, Smith and Brüssow should be in the starting line-up in Abu Dhabi.
The Cheetah pack will be at virtually full strength for the training game and includes Nico Breedt and David de Villiers as a probable lock pairing, with Wayne van Heerden the second row replacement.
At the back the new combination of Meyer Bosman as flyhalf and the centre pairing of Jacques-Louis Potgieter and Corné Uys will have its first run-out.
Former sevens Springboks Fabian Juries and Danwel Demas could be the wings, while Hennie Daniller could be at the last outpost.
Drotské and his coaching side have to announce a final Super14 squad this week and the 24 players that are travelling to Dubai should have the inside track to form the core of the group.
The touring squad is: Hennie Daniller; Danwel Demas, Corné Uys, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Fabian Juries; Meyer Bosman, Tewis de Bruyn; Frans Viljoen, Juan Smith, Heinrich Brüssow, David de Villiers, Nico Breedt, Kobus Calldo, Adriaan Strauss, Wian du Preez.
Substitutes: Richardt Strauss, Coenie Oosthuizen, Wayne van Heerden, Hendro Scholtz, Sarel Pretorius, Bjorn Basson, Kabamba Floors, Trompie Nontshinga, Piet van Zyl.