Cheetahs captain and Springbok flank Juan Smith is expected to make his Vodacom Super 14 comeback against the Blues at Vodacom Park on Saturday.
Smith will not start the match and will only play for about 30 minutes. It is good news, however, for Springbok coach Jake White who will want the tearaway flank match fit for the upcoming Tests against Scotland and France.
Smith told Volksblad: “I’m not yet sharp enough to play more than 30 minutes, even though I can run. I’m consulting a doctor on Monday to ascertain the progress to my injured knee.
“I don’t have any discomfort when I run straight lines, but I can feel the injury as soon as I change direction. The gymnasium has been like my second home since my teammates toured overseas. I worked very hard and the muscle mass in both legs are on par.”
He was unable to tour with the Cheetahs because of the knee injury.
Cheetahs coach Rassie Erasmus will also be able to strengthen his 22-man squad by including Hendro Scholtz after he has recovered from a shoulder injury.
He has shown in three consecutive Vodacom Cup matches for the Free State Cheetahs that he is ready to play at Super 14 level again.
Scholtz injured his shoulder in the Currie Cup final against the Blue Bulls. Erasmus chose not to include him in his tour squad, but gave him the opportunity to regain full match fitness in the Vodacom Cup series.
The availability of the two Bok flanks could just be what the doctor ordered for the Cheetahs after the completion of their overseas tour. The experience of both players could prove decisive in the Cheetahs three remaining matches.