After two years on the side of the field, Juan has started training with the Cheetahs again. There was talk of him leaving for France and plying his trade there, but according to the Cheetahs Facebook page, Juan does not have a valid contract with anyone because of the uncertainty around him playing again. Since his return to the training field, the Warrior and Naka have been discussing his contract which will be finalised in the next two weeks.
Being out of the game for two years had to have taken its toll on Juan and it will obviously take some time for him to be back to the blindside flanker we all remember. I will be happy even if he only plays half a game in the beginning just to find his feet again and most importantly, share his calmness and leadership amongst the young Cheetah incumbents next to him. He will probably only play for the Cheetahs in the Super Rugby Competition, afterwards move north to France and rake in the euros before retiring.
The Cheetahs have started their Super Rugby training this week and I, for one, am looking forward to an almost entirely new backline, filled with youth and pace, they have name a 50 man training squad with a 32,17,1 split between the Cheetahs, Griquas and Griffons respectively:
Steph Roberts, Caylib Oosthuizen, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Lourens Adriaanse, Rossouw de Klerk, Ryno Barnes, Adriaan Strauss, Hercu Liebenberg, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Ligtoring Landman, Francois Uys, Andries Ferreira, Edwin Hewitt, Martin Muller, Waltie Vermeulen, Lodewyk de Jager, Marnus Schoeman, Lappies Labuschagne, Heinrich Brssow, Boom Prinsloo, Justin Downey, Davon Raubenheimer, Philip van der Walt, Leon Karemaker, Tertius Daniller
Marnus Hugo, Sarel Pretorius, Pieter van Zyl, Tewis de Bruyn, Johan Goosen, Francois Brummer, Hansie Graaff, Elgar Watts, Barry Geel, Robert Ebersohn, Joubert Engelbrecht, Jean Stemmet, Johann Sadie, JP Nel, Rocco Jansen, Raymond Rhule, Cornal Hendricks, Jannie Boshoff, Dusty Noble, Rayno Benjamin, Nico Scheepers, Willie le Roux, Hennie Daniller, Riaan Smit
There are a bunch of newcomers to the team, which can only boost the Cheetahs in next year’s competition , you will also notice that Juan is not named in this squad, this is because they are still working on his contract, another name missing on this list is Jongi Nokwe who has returned to Bloemfontein after a short stint down in Port Elizabeth.
Some more good news, Goosen, Le Roux, van der Walt and Lappies are set to recover from their injuries before the start of the competition, Brussow is in a race against time to be ready for the touring squad.
Here are some photos of the Cheetahs in training this week:
I am very optimistic about this season, I can only hope that Naka’s methods don’t mess that up for me again.