Coenie will be managed - Naka
Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen will be specifically managed to ensure he returns to the field in Vodacom Super Rugby at his optimum fitness level, coach Naka Drotske has said.
Oosthuizen, who twice was withdrawn from Springbok duty after complaining about the neck injury, has been slowly working on his rehabilitation and there is a hope he will be fit and ready for the Toyota Cheetahs’ opening game against the Sharks on February 23.
The Bok prop’s injury has been a source of concern since he was withdrawn from Bok duty, and considering the seriousness of it, forced him to miss a huge chunk of the 2012 season.
But now with the prognosis being good, Drotske is hopeful Oosthuizen will be available for duty again when the competition begins, especially as the Cheetahs have lost both WP Nel and Marcel van der Merwe from their front row since the 2012 competition.
“Coenie has been undergoing rehabilitation and its going very well so far,” Drotske told supersport.com, “He hasn’t scrummed yet and hasn’t taken a lot of contact, but we’re sure he will be ready. He has to be given the go-ahead by the specialist, but if he says he is ready, then he will be.”
With the Cheetahs' depth looking better this year with acquisitions like Johann Sadie, Elgar Watts and JP Nel, there is also some attention being given to the fitness of flyhalf Johan Goosen, who is the playmaker Drotske will base his game plan around.
Goosen struggled with injuries last year, missing part of Super Rugby and then the international season when he injured both his shoulder and knee. But hope is that he will be able to face the Bulls in the pre-season friendly in Polokwane on February 9 and will remain injury free this season.
“We’ll definitely be looking to him to kickstart our campaign,” Drotske added, “He was sensational last year before he was injured and we’re expecting a lot from him this year.”
Of the others, only lock Andries Ferreira and flanker Heinrich Brussow remain a concern for the opening game, while Willie le Roux, Lappies Labuschagne and Phillip van der Walt have all recovered from niggles in pre-season.