Cheetahs hopeful for Juan Smith's return

The Cheetahs are hoping one of their stars can shake off early retirement.

Springbok Juan Smith (R) powers his way past British and Irish Lions's Stephen Jones. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Free State Cheetahs Managing Director Harold Verster on Wednesday told Eyewitness News Sport they are hopeful that Juan Smith can make a competitive return to the game.

The Springbok flank, capped 69 times, was forced to announce his retirement in February after persistent Achilles-tendon problems saw him struggling to walk, let alone play.

Smith has since had a further operation.

"I saw Juan a week back and he's still in the gym here with us, with the physios from time to time. He had a follow up operation on his Achilles tendon," Verster confirmed.

He is much better; he's training now and wants to be fit sooner rather than later. His answer to me if he'll play again soon was that he'll wait and see."

Verster says they have high hopes that Smith can return to claim his Cheetahs jersey.

With questions still being asked over the futures of Willie le Roux, Piet van Zyl and others, Verster says they've managed to secure the futures of almost all of their star players.

He says most players have been signed back, but there are still one or two players who haven't committed to making Bloemfontein their home for another season.