Cheetahs and Springbok flank Juan Smith will make a decision about his playing future at the end of January.
Smith last played for South Africa in 2010 and has been sidelined for most of the past two seasons due to a recurring Achilles injury.
Volksblad reports that the World Cup-winning loose forward is in training and will assess his fitness in the coming weeks before making a final decision.
31-year-old Smith was linked with a move to Top 14 club Bayonne in September but is reportedly willing to postpone the move to France to continue his career at the Cheetahs should he recover in time.
Smith’s last appearance for the Cheetahs was against the Bulls in the 2011 Super Rugby season.
With Smith determined to be fit for the start of the campaign, loose forwards Justin Downey and Leon Karemaker have – according to Volksblad – been released from the squad and will rejoin Griquas.
According to the newspaper, Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has released four additional Griquas players; prop Steph Roberts, lock Edwin Hewitt, scrumhalf Marnus Hugo and utility back Jean Stemmet.
Philip van der Walt, Boom Prinsloo and Lappies Labuschagné are all injured but, like Smith, will have an opportunity to prove their fitness when training resumes on Monday.
Springbok flank Heinrich Brussow is still recovering from a shoulder injury, thus Marnus Schoeman, who was one of the stars of the 2012 Currie Cup, will remain in the squad.
“From Griquas’ point of view it’s great to have the guys back. It will definitely help us with our preparations for the Vodacom Cup. Ten of our players are still with the Cheetahs so we have some hard work ahead of us before the tournament begins,” said Griquas coach Pote Human.
Griquas secured a home final in last year’s Vodacom Cup but suffered a last-gasp defeat to Western Province.
“We reached the final last year so we have no excuse not to win the title this year. Teams know what to expect from us so we will have to be smatter this season,” added Human.
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