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Smith in fitness struggle

Flanker Juan Smith faces a race against time to be fit for South Africa's next Tri-Nations assignment against Australia on Saturday.

The Cheetahs captain suffered an abdominal muscle strain during the first half of their 29-22 loss against New Zealand at the weekend in Soweto.

He did not take part in training on Monday but team doctor Craig Roberts was confident that with treatment, the player should recover in time and be considered for selection when the team is named on Tuesday.

"There are a few guys with bumps and bruises but that was expected after such a physical Test," Roberts said ahead of the match against the Wallabies in Pretoria. "We are fortunate that we have only one injury concern."

He also brushed aside rumours that JP Pietersen was carrying an injury, adding: "There were reports that JP had an injury but these are completely incorrect. He took part in the full session on Monday morning."

Meanwhile, Sharks number eight Ryan Kankowski has joined the squad as cover for the rest of the forwards.

He was not the only new face at Loftus Versfeld, with Frans Steyn also appearing after his much-publicised club-versus-country spat.

The Racing Metro full-back, who last featured for the world champions in a Test against Wales in early June, missed out on selection for the defeat to the All Blacks after conflicting reports over his availability.

His French club had initially said he was injured, but then failed to supply the proof leaving South Africa coach Peter de Villiers a frustrated man.

However, De Villiers played down any rift between the parties, saying: "It was all a matter of miscommunication."


From Belfast Telegraph