News in Brief
Springbok Smith out of tour
September 21, 2009
Juan Smith will miss the Springboks' November Tests
© Getty Images
- South Africa will embark on their November tour without blindside flanker Juan Smith, who has been ruled out of action for six weeks with an injury to medial knee ligaments.
Smith picked up the injury in an accident on his farm and will likely not return until the 2010 Super 14, meaning that the Cheetahs will also finish their Currie Cup campaign without their talisman. The Springboks begin their tour against France on November 14, with the likes of Bulls' Deon Stegmann and Dewald Potgieter and Jean Deysel of the Sharks in line to deputise.
Smith started all of the Springboks' Tests in 2009 up until their final Tri-Nations-clinching victory over New Zealand in Hamilton, where a hamstring injury ended his hopes of playing.
"It's a big blow because he is our best player," Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske told keo.co.za. "But one thing I have learnt this season is to give the other players an opportunity in these cases and try to move on."
- Magners League strugglers Cardiff Blues have been boosted by the news that the ankle injury picked up by Jamie Roberts in last weekend's defeat to Connacht is not as serious as originally feared.
Roberts, who limped off at half-time in Galway, is available for selection against the Scarlets on Saturday and may be paired with Tom Shanklin. Shanklin is almost certain to feature after recovering from a dislocated shoulder, with wing Tom James likely to return against Glasgow the following weekend.
- Springbok scrum-half Fourie du Preez will not be available for the Blue Bulls' Currie Cup meeting with the Cheetahs on Saturday. Du Preez has failed to recober from a haematoma on his quad muscle.
- Leeds skipper Marco Wentzel could return to action this weekend after recovering well from an arm injury picked up in their defeat to Worcester. Having missed Saturday's loss at home to London Irish, the former Springbok lock could feature against Northampton at Franklin's Gardens.
- New Zealand retained second spot in the IRB World Rankings after ending the 2009 Tri Nations on a winning note with a 33-6 defeat of Australia at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday.
The All Blacks could have slipped to third for the first time in nearly six years had they suffered a heavy loss to Australia, but a sixth successive defeat of the Wallabies means they improved their rating to cement their place behind South Africa. The top five is rounded out by Australia, Ireland and France.
- Australia have announced that they will take on England, Ireland and Fiji over a four-Test campaign in June next year.
The Wallabies will open their season against Fiji in Canberra on June 5 before the first of two Tests against England in Perth on June 12. The second of those clashes will take place in Sydney on June 19 before they play host to Ireland in Brisbane on June 26.
"We should also have a reasonable gauge of where we stand against Ireland and England when the Wallabies play both those countries during their Grand Slam tour in November," said Australian Rugby Union Managing Director and CEO John O'Neill
"It will be the first Grand Slam attempt since the 1984 side marched unbeaten through the UK and Ireland in the four Tests they played. Fittingly, this Grand Slam tour will come on the 25th anniversary of that magnificent achievement."