The Cheetahs have been rocked by a late setback when their captain Juan Smith withdrew from the team because of the death of his father in Bloemfontein.
Smith’s father died in Bloemfontein late on Wednesday night after he was recovering from Rift Valley Fever, which he apparently contracted on his farm.
The setback comes just two days before Smith was due to return to the rugby field after missing the previous two matches to be at his father’s bedside. He flew earlier this week to Sydney to rejoin his team-mates after doctors told him his father was out of danger.
However, on Wednesday, his father took a turn for the worst and according to team sources, it seems his “heart gave in.”
Smith will now fly back to South Africa to rejoin his family, and leaves Sydney on Thursday night (SA time), arriving back in Bloemfontein on Friday night.
The following changes were made to the team.
Barend Pieterse moves from no. 4 to no. 7.
Izak van der Westhuizen moves up from the reserve bench to no. 4.
Nico Breedt will replace Izak van der Westhuizen on the bench.
[Content also from a story by Brenden Nel on News24.com]