Morgan Piek – This morning the Toyota Cheetahs announced their team to take on Jake Whites’ Brumbies in Canberra, Australia on Saturday morning at 6:35am South African time.
After two loses in the opening two rounds of the 2012 Super Rugby tournament men from Central South Africa are under a bit of pressure. It’s never ideal to go on tour without a win under the belt, however, it’s not the end of the world either. Especially when facing the possibility of being cut from the Super Rugby competition altogether to make way for the Southern Kings in 2013.
This however is not the worlds’ toughest tour to Australasia. There is no reason for the Toyota Cheetahs not to walk away with at least three victories on the road. With the current form the mighty Crusaders are displaying, the Cheetahs could possibly win all their games overseas. The Cheetahs will be playing the ACT Brumbies, the Melbourne Rebels, the Crusaders and the Hurricanes.
This is the perfect opportunity for them to silence their critics and ensure that they will have “Bums-on-Seats” when they play their first game back in Bloemfontein on the 14th of April against the Chiefs.
The Toyota Cheetahs are by no means strangers to being the bottom of the log team after the opening rounds of the competition. They have an unique ability to come back with a bang and win four or five consecutive games. They just need to focus and find their rhythm. The addition of Juan Smith to their squad when they return will help matters a lot. This only happens when the team gels and notches up a victory or two.
The ACT Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels are two perfect games to lead into a Crusaders clash at the revamped Addington Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch. One cannot forget the Toyota Cheetahs famous 33-20 victory over the more favoured Crusaders last year in Bloemfontein.
The Toyota Cheetahs have been boosted with the return of the incredibly tough Coenie Oosthuizen and the flamboyant Ashley Johnson. This will most definitely give them a stronger scrum as well as more attacking options in the loose. It should sort out their problem of playing lateral rugby in recent weeks. Another interesting move is seeing the former MTN Lions lock George Earle pulling the number four jersey on for the first time for the Cheetahs. Earle will partner Izak van der Westhuizen in the locks. This will bolster their lineout.
The former Sharks flank Justin Downey moves onto the bench alongside Griquas team mate Davon Raubenheimer. Although Davon is a very solid player, he tends to enter the contact very upright and it causes him get driven onto the back foot, resulting in slower ball for the Toyota Cheethas. This reminds one of the old rugby adage “The forwards win the game, the backs determine the margin of victory”.
With a little bit of luck and heart the Toyota Cheetahs should be able to overcome Jake White’s less than impressive Brumbies. The Brumbies had a torrid time against the Western Force in the opening round of the 2012 competition. They have had a week off due to a bye last weekend as well, so they could be a tad rusty as well.
Fixtures on tour:
• ACT Brumbies vs Toyota Cheetahs, Canberra Stadium Canberra, Australia 3 March, 6:35am CAT.
• Melbourne Rebels vs Toyota Cheeths, AAMi Park, Melbourne, Australia. 18 March, 7:10am CAT.
• Crusaders vs Toyota Cheetahs, Addington Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand. 24 March 8:35am CAT.
• Hurricanes vs Toyota Cheethas, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand. 31 March 6:30am CAT.
The Toyota Cheetahs team is as follows:
1 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss (Captain), 3 WP Nel, 4 George Earle, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 7 Philip van der Walt, 8 Ashley Johnson, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 10 Johan Goosen, 11 Willie le Roux, 12 Philip Snyman, 13 Robert Ebersohn (vc), 14 Cameron Jacobs, 15 Hennie Daniller.
16 Trevor Nyakane, 17 Hercu Liebenberg, 18 Davon Raubenheimer, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Ryno Benjamin.