Ashwin set for op

Springbok and Cats wing Ashwin Willemse is scheduled to go under the knife next week as he starts another long road back to his former glories.

Willemse injured his knee in the dying minutes of the Cats game against the Sharks at Ellis Park two weekend’s ago – a cruel blow to a player that has battled with knee and ankle injuries ever since bursting onto the scene in 2003.

The former SA Rugby Player of the Year told keo.co.za that despite the latest in a string of injury setbacks that have bedevilled his career he was still upbeat about getting back onto the rugby field and about life in general.

“The op is only taking place next week because the doctors have been waiting for the swelling to go down, but apart from that life is good,” he laughed.

“You know, I’m still smiling at life and it’s still smiling at me. It doesn’t come easy, but you have to be optimistic and look at the positive side.”

After the operation, which is taking place at a Pretoria hospital, Willemse will be out of action for at least six months, maybe nine. “It all depends on when I can start the rehab and that is the doctors call.”

Willemse has refused to put a date on a possible comeback to the rugby field, rather focussing on getting himself back to full fitness. “Once I’m 100% we will see what competition is in front of me and take it from there.”

One thing is for sure, with his determination and dedication, it’s not a matter of if Willemse will ever play rugby at the top level again, but instead when. Surely next time his run of bad luck will have ended and he will again be able to showcase his skill on the international stage.

By Andrew Hollely