Phillip van der Walt
This is the forth in the series of Cheetahs Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.
We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for LOOSE FORWARDS in the Toyota Cheetahs 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
His brief was just to complete his 30 minutes of rugby and walk off the field uninjured. However his time on the field showed why his return has been so keenly anticipated, not only by the Cheetahs fans but by most rugby lovers. He hardly looked as if he had been away from the game for two years.
Johan Goosen and Coenie Oosthuizen have given the Cheetahs a boost with news that the Springbok duo will be fit for the start of the Super Rugby season.
Naka Drotske has reason to smile, as it is reported that Springboks Coenie Oosthuizen (back) and Johan Goosen (knee) are progressing well. Willie le Roux (groin), Phillip van der Walt (knee), Lappies Labuschagne (ankle) and Springbok Heinrich Brüssow (shoulder) are all on track for early participation in this years Super Rugby Competition.
In years past, this was a position the Cheetahs could make their team selections with their eyes closed. With legends like Juan Smith in particular, giving yeoman service.
Long term injuries and player movements has temporarily thrown the proverbial spanner in the works, resulting in Naka having to recall Hendro Scholtz out of retirement to have a fit flanker in the 2012 Currie Cup.
However the emergence of a few young stars has restored order. Marnus Schoeman has started delivering on the hype anticipated when he was still a junior with the Blue Bulls. Lappies Labuschagne and Justin Downey have grown in their positions, which leaves Naka Drotske spoilt for choice.