SA latest – Still hope for Juan

Keo.co.za brings you news from South Africa’s Super Rugby franchises.

Still hope for Juan – The Springboks have received some great news that Juan Smith may recover from his Achilles injury in time to play at the World Cup.

Smith underwent surgery to his Achilles on Monday after sustaining a partial tear of the tendon in Friday’s match against the Bulls. He is expected to be back in six months, which means he could be fit in time for the tournament in New Zealand.

Cheetahs team doctor Ian Morris said that the operation went well and that because Smith didn’t complete tear the tendon, he could be ready.

‘We are planning on having him fit for the World Cup,’ Morris told Die Volksblad. ‘There is definitely a chance that he can recover in time. If everything goes well, six months is not an unreasonable recovery period.’

Meanwhile, the Cheetahs have decided not to play Heinrich Brussow against the Stormers this Saturday. Coach Naka Drotske said that he wants Brussow to play another Vodacom Cup game before making his return to Super Rugby.

Wikus locks for Lions – World Cup winning flank Wikus van Heerden will start at lock for the Lions against the Blues on Friday.

Lions coach John Mitchell has made good on his promise to play Van Heerden at lock, and Van Heerden’s inclusion means George Earle drops out of the squad. Former Bulls utility forward Dries van Schalkwyk takes Van Heerden’s place in the reserves.

Lions - 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Josh Strauss, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe (c), 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Patrick Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Kevin Buys, 18 Dries van Schalkwyk, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Burton Francis, 22 James Kamana.

Burger to miss two matches – A medial ligament strain will sideline Schalk Burger for two to three weeks. The Stormers captain will definitely miss games against the Cheetahs and Highlanders, and management is hopeful that he will be fit for the derby against the Bulls.

Jean de Villiers is likely to lead the team, while Pieter Louw is the favourite to wear the No 6 jersey. Nick Koster could come onto the Stormers’ bench.

Meanwhile, Gio Aplon is still a doubtful inclusion for the Cheetahs game. Peter Grant, who returned to South Africa last week, is set to start at flyhalf in place of Gary van Aswegen.