Veteran loose forward Juan Smith has suffered a setback that has placed new doubt over his World Cup prospects, after he failed a fitness test on Wednesday.
Smith, who was sent back from the Springbok team to the Free State Cheetahs for some Currie Cup action, underwent a fitness test in Bloemfontein, but will not feature against the Pumas on Saturday.
He has not played since rupturing his Achilles tendon in the Cheetahs' opening match of the Super Rugby season in February.
Bok coach Peter de Villiers had hoped that Smith would get 20 minutes off the bench this week and some more game time next week.
However, Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské told this website that Smit is not yet ready to play - just over three weeks out from the start of the World Cup in New Zealand..
"We will look at him again next week," Drotské said, adding that there must be some doubt about his World Cup prospects.
"He is still not pain free," Drotské added.
Although Smith has been with the Boks, he always ran on his own and did only some light training.
He was often accompanied in his 'sideline' training runs by fellow loose forward Schalk Burger, who is rehabilitating from a fractured thumb and also won't be available till the Boks' opening World Cup match against Wales on September 11.
Another Bok on the doubtful list is fullback Frans Steyn, who was not considered for Saturday’s Tri-Nations Series Test against New Zealand in Port Elizabeth because of a damaged hamstring.
Steyn injured his hamstring against Australia last Saturday in Durban and will not be fit to play this weekend at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
He has remained with the squad to do his rehabilitation.
By Jan de Koning
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