Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske will at last have something to smile about, after Juan Smith’s shock retirement has dealt a big blow to the central franchise’s Super Rugby pre-season.
Reports from Supersport suggest that both prop Coenie Oosthuizen and flyhalf Johan Goosen will be fit to face the Sharks in the Cheetah’s Super Rugby opener, a clash in Bloemfontein on 23 February.
Oosthuizen and Goosen have both been out of action for 6 months or more, as the result of neck and foot injuries respectively, sustained during the Springboks 2012 Rugby Championship campaign. The Boks will add much-needed experience to a Cheetahs line-up reeling without experienced leaders in Smith and Heinrich Brüssow (currently injured). Together with captain Adriaan Strauss, they will form the nucleus of the team and Drotske will be quite fervently hoping that he can get through the season without either going down again.
A pair of young props in Caylib Oosthuizen and Rossouw de Klerk, along with Trevor Nyakane, provide additional prop depth, but with the likes of Marcel van der Merwe and WP Nel both gone, the Cheetahs front row takes no a very green look indeed without Oosthuizen there. Ditto at flyhalf, where the loss of Sias Eberhsohn to the Force sees journeymen Elgar Watts and Francois Brümmer emerge as back-up options for Goosen.Tweet