Cheetahs v Crusaders preview

Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein, 19.10 (17.10 GMT)

The Crusaders are another bunch facing a little pressure this weekend. They struggled last week with a powerful and heartfelt performance from the Lions, and they are definitely not the same side without their All Black stars.

In the first twenty minutes of their victory over the Waratahs, the Cheetahs demonstrated the potential of their highly organised and highly expansive attack when they blew the ‘Tahs away in the opening exchanges.

If the Crusaders are not able to turn things around in the scrum via Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks and Corey Flynn, they could fall victim to a Cheetahs rampage.

On the other hand, the Crusaders are a side that has traditionally valued its meticulous pattern of play, and if they are able to stick to the game plan, they could edge out an impressive Cheetahs side at home.

It is going to be a titanic struggle in Bloemfontein. The Crusaders will throw the entire weight of their proud history into a fixture that demands a win from them.

If Darron Nel and Corniel van Zyl are able to dominate at the line-out, and Kabamba Floors provides the dynamism on the deck, you may see the penetration of an array of attacking players such as skipper Juan Smith, Marius Joubert, and the effervescent Philip Burger prove too much for the defending champions.

Prediction: The Crusaders will be tough opposition, but this is a Cheetahs side who could well be champions this year. To go down at home on Saturday would mean they only have themselves to blame. The Cheetahs will win by more than ten points.


Cheetahs: 15 Philip Burger, 14 Eddie Fredericks, 13 Marius Joubert, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Ronnie Cooke, 10 Herkie Kruger, 9 Falie Oelschig, 8 Darron Nell, 7 Juan Smith (c), 6 Kabamba Floors, 5 Corniel van Zyl, 4 Bian Vermaak, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Hendro Scholtz, 19 Ryno van der Merwe, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Gavin Passens, 22 Tiger Mangweni.

Crusaders: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Brent Ward, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Rua Tipoki, 11 Caleb Ralph, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Andrew Ellis, 8 Mose Tuiali’i, 7 Johnny Leo’o, 6 Kieran Read, 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Ross Filipo, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Corey Flynn (c), 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ti’i Paulo, 17 Ben May, 18 Jake Paringatai, 19 Isaac Ross, 20 Kevin Senio, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 Tim Bateman

Referee: Brett Bowden (Australia)
Touch judges: Daniel Cheever (Australia), Gareth Lloyd-Jones (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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