Cheetahs to receive triple boost

WP Nel is expected to start against Western Province on Saturday while Juan Smith and Skipper Badenhorst will undergo fitness tests on Wednesday.

Tighthead prop Nel has been suffering from a wrist injury but was fit enough to train with the team on Monday and is likely to start against Province in the Cheetahs’ Currie Cup opener in Bloemfontein. Captain Smith and hooker Badenhorst, who will both be key for the Cheetahs against a strong Province pack, are also showing positive signs that they will be available for selection.

‘WP Nel should be fit to play this weekend after training with the team yesterday [Monday],’ team doctor Ian Morris told ‘Skipper has been showing positive signs and is recovering well while Juan is reacting positively since his operation on his groin. Both players’ availability will be confirmed on Wednesday after a fitness test.’

Morris added that hooker Adriaan Strauss (shoulder) should recover next month while lock Barend Pieterse (Achilles) and Frans Viljoen’s (broken arm) returns will be determined at a later stage.

‘Adriaan is expected back in the next three to four weeks. We are waiting until Barend is able to train pain free before we can determine his return date and will be checked on each week. We can only determine when Frans can come back in two weeks time.’

By Gareth Duncan