Smith returns after significant absence

Springbok flanker Juan Smith could make his first start in a month-and-a-half when the Cheetahs take on the Sharks this Saturday. [more]

Smith returns after significant absence

Springbok flanker Juan Smith could make his first start in a month-and-a-half when the Cheetahs take on the Sharks this Saturday.

The World Cup winning openside missed five weeks of rugby through severe concussion before coming off the bench in the Cheetahs’ defeat to the Brumbies last weekend.

Smith is expected to skipper the Free State outfit against the table-topping Sharks in Bloemfontein as he looks to rebuild his form and fitness ahead of this summer’s Lions tour.

The Cheetahs face Ian McGeechan’s tourists on Saturday, June 6, while Smith is expected to be involved for the Springboks when they meet the Lions on June 20, 27 and July 4.

The Cheetahs have lost all seven of their Super 14 fixtures so far this season but Sharks’ assistant coach Grant Bashford believes the impact of Smith’s return should not be underestimated.

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"The return of Juan will be instrumental for them," said Bashford, whose Sharks side can boast a record of seven wins from eight matches.

"He is a huge motivational factor for them, and they will feel that this is just the game for them to find their feet and get a win on the board."

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