Injury-plagued Southern Kings loose forward CJ Velleman, one of last year’s Super Rugby stars, is expected to make his long-awaited PRO14 debut during February.
Earlier this season it was reported that the Stormers were eager to sign Velleman, because the Cape side were hunting for a specialist ball fetcher.
However, the former Grey High pupil opted to stay in Port Elizabeth and will be a big boost for the Kings when he eventually returns.
A succession of cruel injuries meant Velleman did not play a single match for the Kings in Super Rugby this year.
After making good progress in his recovery from a long-term knee injury sustained last season, flanker Velleman received a setback when he damaged the same knee during training during May.
“Everyone wants to know when CJ Velleman will be back. CJ is still on track with his rehabilitation and his projected return is in February,” Kings team doctor Clement Plaatjies said.
There was some bad news for the Kings on the medical front after their defeat against Benetton Rugby in Treviso.
After that game, Plaatjies reported that he had two major concerns involving wing Sibusiso Sithole (knee injury) and fullback Masixole Banda (shoulder injury).
“Banda is tight in his injured shoulder and will not be taking any contact for the rest of the week,” he said.
“We are going to be treating him and he should be joining training next week.
“It does not look like anything serious just yet, but we will be keeping an eye on him.
“Sithole came through his surgery very well, but he is off for the next two weeks.
“Once we have a full rehabilitation programme we will be able to say exactly how long he will be out, so I am not going to put a time on it just yet.
“We have a few players with lower back stiffness and muscle stiffness after the week off.
“Flyhalf Kurt Coleman has recovered very well from his quad tear, but has not been able to be rehabilitated because of illness.
“We will get him to do some running and strength exercises and hopefully we will have Kurt ready to play against Glasgow next week.”
In what has been a testing start to their PRO14 campaign, the Kings have lost their opening six matches and leaked a massive 223 points in the process.
Head coach Deon Davids will welcome the extra week to prepare for his next assignment in Scotland against Glasgow on October 27 as the Kings bid to get back on the winning track.
While the Kings were enjoying their rest week, Glasgow were beaten 24-15 by English Premiership team Exeter Chiefs in the European Champions Cup.
Chiefs had to call on all the qualities that won them the Premiership final last season to see off a fierce challenge from Glasgow in a pulsating cup opener.