Cheetahs will have to neutralise George Smith

Heinrich Brussow and Duanne Vermeulen will have the task of neutralising George Smith and his fellow Brumbies looseforwards in the Super 14 match in Canberra on Friday.

The Cheetahs assistant coach Dawie Theron, on Wednesday said they expected the home side to target the breakdown after this was identified as one of their weaknesses in last weekend’s defeat to the Hurricanes -and Smith, the caretaker captain, is the man the Brumbies will be looking to for a win and to stay in the Super 14 title hunt.

Theron said the team spirit in the Cheetahs camp was still great, even after their thumping against the Crusaders last week and the fact they are still without a win after five matches.

“We truly believe we can beat the Brumbies,” Theron said to the Cheetahs website.

Success in this match for the Cheetahs will depend on how much of a scar they retained after the 55-7 drubbing by Crusaders last week, and also their discipline.

They have lost three of their five matches in the last few minutes by penalties. With 12 tries from their outings, the Cheetahs have shown they can score tries.

But they have also conceded 22 tries – the most in the competition, albeit against the two sides that have scored the most tries to date, Crusaders and the Blues.

Tight defence is not negotiable, and focus throughout to avoid letting it slip late in the match is critical. There is little doubt the Cheetahs can win this match.

They have a good and experienced backline, a mobile pack and three excellent loose forwards in Brussow, Vermeulen and Nell.


And the advent of the dynamic CJ van der Linder off the bench could prove to be a winner for coach Naka Drotske.

Ultimately, it will depend on their focus, their defence and their discipline – and, for a change, some luck as well – to go with a positive attitude.

Kick-off on Friday (SA times):
Crusaders v Waratahs, 8.35am;
Brumbies v Cheetahs, 10.40am.


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