Cheetahs feeling the pressure in Super rugby

Cheetahs captain Juan Smith will know later today the extent of his injury but early signs are that he will miss the rest of the season after he tore his Achilles tendon playing against the Bulls.

Smith was a fitness doubt going into the match but after passing a late fitness test he lasted just two minutes of Super rugby.

The injury is not only a blow to the Springboks world cup chances but a bigger blow to the Cheetahs who have yet to win a match this season.

The Cheetahs should however soon be strengthened by the return of Heinrich Brussow in the near future and coach Naka Drotske says the team took a lot out of their loss to defending champions the Bulls.

“Everyone knows that Juan Smith is a world class player and probably the best No 7 flank in the world,” said Drotske.

“A lot of the media made out as if we couldn’t play without him and sometimes you get the feeling that the players start believing it as well.”

“It’s unlucky for Juan and we hope he isn’t out for too long, but the positive from the game is that it was good for players to realise we can play well without him and be competitive.”

The Cheetahs are already feeling the pressures of Super rugby having lost Adriaan Strauss in the first round and then shortly after Smith went off Francois Uys followed Smith while centre and try scorer Andries Strauss also left the field with a hamstring strain.

“Juan’s injury hit us hard, because Francois Uys, who is actually a lock, had to go and play at 7.”

“We couldn’t move Ashley Johnson there because then we wouldn’t have had a lineout jumper at the back. Francois played at 7 almost 18 months ago.

“Ashley played very well and deserved to be man of the match,” Drotske told SuperSport.

“He really put his hand up when getting onto the field and showed he deserves to be in the starting line-up.”

The Cheetahs travel to Cape Town this weekend where they will face last year’s Super 14 finalists the Stormers.

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