Toyota Free State Cheetahs ready for the Kings

Oct 17 • General News, National • 5744 Views • Comments Off on Toyota Free State Cheetahs ready for the Kings

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Toyota Free State Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss. Photo by Morgan Piek /Rugby15.

Morgan Piek – The Toyota Free State Cheetahs find themselves between a rock and a hard place this coming weekend when they face the Eastern Province Kings in an Absa Currie Cup promotion-relegation play-off in Bloemfontein.

If the men from Bloemfontein have any hopes of retaining their spot in the “worlds toughest” domestic competition they will have to capitalise on being afforded home ground advantage in the first of the two matches.

The Free State Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske today admitted that they are under a lot of pressure to perform and regretted the fact that they are in a tight spot. Dispelling the fact that the two teams are in two different leagues, he said they have no other choice but to perform.

The Eastern Province Kings are on a tremendous high after running through the Absa Currie Cup First Division unbeaten and clinching the Final against the Ford Pumas last weekend. However, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss said the team had a renewed energy about them on Monday morning when they gathered to kick-off the weeks training. This energy was clearly visible this morning when the team trained in Bloemfontein.

Being under immense pressure is a stage tailor-made for traditional Cheetahs running rugby. For some or other reason the team tends to combine beautifully as a unit when they’re pushed into a corner. As always any team would be a fool to underestimate the competition, the Cheetahs are well aware of this. The Kings are well advised to be aware of this as well.

Hawies Fourie, the Cheetahs backline coach made mention of the fact that the Kings utilise their backline players very well and are very wary of the Kings back three – Sarel Marais, Paul Perez and Michael Killian. Not to mention their flyhalf Wesley Dunlop.

The battle among the frontrowers will be very interesting as well as the Kings have a formidable front three – Jaco Engels, Hannes Franklin and Clint Newland.

The Cheetahs have been boosted with the return of Lappies Labschange at flank. This sees Francois Uys return to lock and Carl Wegener to the bench. Carl Wegners’ move to the bench ensures the Cheetahs have an incredibly strong bench as any of the players on it is as strong as their team mates starting the game.

Despite being under pressure, one cannot help but to sense the Cheetahs may be a little too strong for the men from Port Elizabeth. This sentiment was reiterated by legendary Springbok lock Frik du Preez when he said “Vrystaat sal daai ouens in hulle moere in speel”.

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs side to face the EP Kings is as follows:

15. Hennie Daniller, 14. Nico Scheepers, 13. Robert Ebersohn (Vice-captain) 12. Andries Strauss, 11. Raymond Rhule, 10. Sias Ebersohn, 9. Sarel Pretorius, 8. Phillip van der Walt, 7. Lappies Labuschange, 6. Hendro Scholtz, 5. Izak van der Merwe, 4. Franscois Uys, 3. Ross Geldenhuys, 2. Adriaan Strauss (Captain), 1. Marcel van der Merwe.

Substitutes:

16. Hercu Liebenberg, 17. Schalk van der Merwe, 18. Carl Wegner, 19. Davon Ruabenheimer, 20. Tewis du Bruyn, 21. Phillip Snyman, 22. Rayno Benjamin.

Eastern Province Kings:

15. Sarel Marias, 14. Paul Perez, 13. Wayne Stevens (Captain), 12. Shane Gates, 11. Michael Killian, 10. Wesley Dunlop, 9. Fallie Oelschig, 8. Cornell du Preez, 7. Wimpie van der Walt, 6. Devin Oosthuizen, 5. David Bulbring, 4. Rynier Bernardo, 3. Clint Newland, 2. Hannes Franklin, 1. Jaco Engels.

Substitutes:

16. Frank Herne, 17. André Schlechter, 18. Wayne van Heerden, 19. Mpho Mbiyozo, 20. Scott Mathie, 21. George Whitehead, 22. Norman Nelson.

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