Front Row Grunt

Rugby … with cauliflower ears

Coenie Oosthuizen ii

Coenie fitness debate continues

Reports out of the Cheetahs camp suggest that Coenie Oosthuizen has come through his comeback game unscathed, but Tank Lanning is not convinced.

Oosthuizen came on the second half of the Cheetahs loss to the Sharks on Saturday, forming part of the home side’s revival which saw them push the Sharks very close indeed. He is now seemingly set to take his place in the front row against the Chiefs this weekend.

I am yet to be convinced, though. Having watched the big man closely given his injury history, there were far too many of those tell tale “Neck twitches” coming from Oosthuizen in between passages of play. The kind that used to come from Schalk Burger just before he was forced to have neck surgery, and the kind all of us forced into spinal fusion operations know too well. He just does not look comfortable on the field yet.

And while Os du Randt continues to believe in his ability as a tighthead, he has yet to convince me that he can make the switch back to a position he used to play as a schoolboy. He was absolutely monstered by Sharks and Bok loosehead prop Beast Mtawarira come scrum time. It has been suggested that there is less chance of him re-injuring his lower back injury when playing tighthead as there is less hinging. Perhaps, but not when you are being buckled in two by the opposition.

And when tighthead prop is being suggested as the place to hide from a back injury, you know you are in trouble. Tighthead requires a back made from titanium that is as straight as table mountain, hips that can get through 90 degrees, and quadriceps that can stop a jumbo jet from moving. It’s not the place you want to be if needing to hide a back or neck injury.

I just hope for his sake, that he is being given the best advice.

Meanwhile, report that the Cheetahs can now add Waltie Vermeulen to the injury list, which will be concerning after losing locks Andries Ferreira and Martin Muller to injury before the season began. Vermeulen is replaced by Griquas lock Ligtoring Landman, meaning the Cheetahs will tour with just three locks as Landman joins Francois Uys and Lood de Jager as the only second row players on tour.

This week’s Super Rugby fixtures:

Friday, 01 Mar

08:30 Blues vs Crusaders

10:20 Waratahs vs Rebels

12:20 Reds vs Hurricanes

Saturday, 02 Mar

08:35 Chiefs vs Cheetahs

17:05 Bulls vs Force

19:10 Sharks vs Stormers

Author: Tank

Ex WP prop with a fair amount of experience in all things media ...

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