Rocco Jansen returns, Johnson at 7

May 23 • General News, International, National, Super Rugby, Super Rugby Fixtures, Super Rugby News • 3464 Views • Comments Off on Rocco Jansen returns, Johnson at 7

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Returning Toyota Cheetahs winger Rocco Jansen training with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. Photo by Morgan Piek /Rugby15.

Morgan Piek –  Converting narrow losses into victories is the order of the day in the Toyota Cheetahs camp. This session the Cheetahs have already lost six games within seven points. When one looks at losses with such a narrow margin, one cannot help but feel the Cheetahs lose to themselves rather than being beaten by their opponents. Nine time out of ten if because of a soft opening try by the opposing team.

The Cheetahs have made numerous changes to their side largely due to injury. This morning saw a whole host Toyota Cheetahs sit out of their practice session at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein. These players included the likes of captain Adriaan Strauss, Piet van Zyl, Riaan Smit, Phillip van der Walt and Coenie Oosthuizen, but to name a few. One place it looks bad, however, all the above mentioned players will be starting this coming Saturday against the Waratahs.

Coach Naka Drotske emphasized that fact that the it is imperative to play more attacking rugby, especially against the Sydney based outfit that have it their stride after a terrible start to the 2012 Super Rugby season.

Two of the most notable changes to the Cheetahs side are the inclusion of Ashley Johnson and the Griquas  speedster Rocco Jansen. In a way Naka admitted to crumbling to “media” pressure and included the Springbok loose forward in the place of the much less fancied Justin Downey. Jansen replaces Cameron Jacobs on the right wing after return to the Cheetahs at the conclusion of the Vodacom Cup session. With very little Super Rugby experience, Jansen might find the pace and the physical nature of Super Rugby to be a lot tougher than the Vodacom Cup. He will have to adapt very quickly as this is yet another crucial game for the Central South African. However, Rocco Jansen is a quality player, with a lot of pace and even more striking power.

Andries Ferreira moves off the bench to the starting line-up in the place of George Earle who is out with a concussion. Andries Ferreira will be replaced on the bench by the returning Francois Uys. Riaan Smit remains the starting flyhalf after he came off against the Sharks early in the second half with a shoulder injury. Sias Ebersohn remains on the bench as his backup.

The Free State faithful will see the return of their former favorite son, Sarel Pretorius to Bloemfontein this weekend, albeit in a “powder blue” Waratahs jersey. Adriaan Strauss has expressed them teams desire to play against their former teammate.  Ironically enough, Sarel Pretorius and the sensational Piet van Zyl will be bidding for the same Cheetahs jersey in the Currie Cup later this year. The halfback battle this coming weekend will sure be something to witness should Sarel start the game for the Tahs.

Although the Waratahs are just one point ahead of the Cheetahs on the log, the Cheetahs will be very foolish to underestimate the Sydney-siders. The Waratahs have a very proud record in Super Rugby and have a star-studded squad. They proved last weekend that they are not intimidated by South African teams and narrowly missed out on upsetting the much more fancied DHL Stormers in Cape Town. The Waratahs have a phenomenal pack of forwards and backline that can strike hard anytime during the game.

The Toyota Cheetahs side is as follows:

1. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Adriaan Strauss (Captain), 3. WP Nel, 4. Andriess Ferreira, 5. Izak van der Westhuizen, 6. Heinrich Brussow, 7. Ashley Johnson, 8. Phillip van der Walt, 9. Piet van Zyl, 10. Riaan Smit, 11. Willie le Roux, 12. Andries Strauss (Vice-Captain), 13. Robert Ebersohn, 14. Rocco Jansen, 15. Hennie Daniller.


16. Hercu Liebenberg, 17. Trevor Nyakane, 18. Francois Uys, 19. Justin Downey, 20. Tewis du Bruyn, 21. Sias Ebersohn, 22. Phillip Snyman.

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