Injured Springbok flank Juan Smith should be ready for the start of the Cheetahs’ Super Rugby campaign and could also feature in a warm-up match.
The Volksblad newspaper reports that Smith started on-field training this week for the first time since his Achilles injury.
Even though he’s still doing rehabilitation and not training with his team-mates, he started running on grass for the first time again on Monday.
And the Cheetahs are hoping the 30-year old could start training with the team later this month and maybe even play in a warm-up game before their first Super Rugby match against the Lions on February 25.
Smith is optimistic and hopeful for an injury-free 2012 season. “Monday was the first time that I’ve done some running again. I’m really impressed. Ten months on the sidelines are long and after the first session I’m feeling good and I’m very positive.
“My hunger to play is back and bigger than ever before.
“I hope and pray that I can play all the games I should,” said Smith.
If Smith plays in their Super Rugby season-opener on February 25 it will be exactly a year since he sustained the injury against the Bulls.
“We’re aiming to have him ready for the warm-up matches,” Ian Morris, the Cheetahs’ team doctor said.
If Smith plays in a warm-up match it will probably be their final one on February 11 against the Bulls in Polokwane.