JOHANNESBURG – Springbok scrumhalf Ross Cronje says it’s been a “little frustrating” having to watch his teammates from the sidelines but that the shoulder injury that has sidelined him has allowed him to focus on other, personal matters.
The No 9 underwent shoulder surgery in September, ruling him out of any chance of touring with the Springboks last November and the start of this year’s Super Rugby competition.
But he said this week he is close to returning to action and had spent his time away from the game wisely.
“The rehab has really gone well, so hopefully I’ll be back next week or the week after that. I want to make 100 percent sure I’m ready. It’s been frustrating sitting out and watching the boys, especially with the win last weekend,” Cronje said.
“But the time away has allowed me to spend time with my daughter (who is seven-months-old), so that’s a positive, and I always look for a positive when there’s a negative. Also, we’ve got a wedding venue with my brother (former player Guy) and my sister and I have been involved with that, and with a few other things. You’ve got to have something to fall back on when you’re done with rugby.”
In Cronje’s absence, Nic Groom has worn the No 9 jumper, with Dillon Smit his back-up.
Cronje said he was eager to get back on the field now. “You miss the buggers, the whole team environment. Having an injury like this one, my first proper injury in 10 years, makes you really hungry to play, which is a good thing,” he said.
“Also, the time away, having such a long break, has been good; I feel like a human being again. But I want to get going.”
Cronje, who has slowly been introduced to taking more contact and game-related drills in training, said he had some advice for his teammates who are heading to Cape Town this week to face the Stormers. His team are brimming with confidence after registering a first ever win in Buenos Aires last weekend while the Stormers are licking their wounds following their 40-3 hiding by the Bulls.
“I wouldn’t underestimate the Stormers,” said Cronje.