Cheetahs v Chiefs preview

Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein, 19.10 (17.10 GMT)


The Chiefs will be wondering just what they have to do to win a game in this year’s competition – four straight defeats by seven or less points. Unlike the Cheetahs (against the Crusaders) last week, the Chiefs did everything they should to win their game against the Bulls.


“We were one second away from what would have been a great victory,” Chiefs coach Ian Foster said about the 80th minute Bryan Habana try that stole a win for the Bulls. “We played very well and deserved to win.”


There is no doubting that the New Zealand franchise have done enough to deserve a win, but the big question is whether the Chiefs will be able to lift themselves for one last big effort in South Africa.


For the Cheetahs it is different altogether. They have looked impressive in the first three rounds and managed to get two good wins – over the Stormers and Waratahs. Those are not results to be scoffed at.


The question for the Bloemfontein outfit is how much did they learn from the hammering they took against the Crusaders last week.


Cheetahs coach Rassie Erasmus believes his team will be a lot wiser. Sometimes a team needs a good wake-up call … if ever there was a wake-up call for the Cheetahs, that was it.


Erasmus is looking to add some much needed experience to his starting team against a Chiefs side that may just be vulnerable and mentally fatigued after a very arduous South African trip.


Players like veteran Springbok prop Os du Randt, fellow Bok front row forward CJ van der Linde, flank Hendro Scholtz (25) and number eight Ryno van der Merwe will give the Cheetahs pack a definite edge if they take to the field.


The fact is that the Cheetahs may have fielded too many “youngsters” against the wily Crusaders last week and when the situation called for cool, calm heads there were none. They became too helter-skelter in their approach and played right into the Crusaders’ hands.


The roles will be reversed this week.


The Cheetahs are like to be the team with the most experience, players with the ability to remain calm when things get hot and when it turns into a 50-50 match.


Prediction: Somehow this game has the potential to be a blow-out for the Chiefs. It will take some real mental strength for the Chiefs to stay in the game for the full 80 minutes against a Cheetahs team desperate to bounce back from last week’s defeat. We feel the Cheetahs should win comfortably. The Cheetahs by 15 points.


Teams:


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


Chiefs: 15 Dwayne Sweeney, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Niva Ta’auso, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 11 Roy Kinikinilau, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Jamie Nutbrown, 8 Sione Lauaki, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Keith Robinson, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Nathan White, 2 Tom Willis (c), 1 Simms Davison
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche/Craig West, 17 Ben Castle, 18 Kristian Ormsby, 19 Steven Bates, 20 Marty Holah, 21 Brendon Leonard, 22 Murray Williams


Referee: James Leckie (Australia)
Touch judges: Dan Cheever (Australia), Linston Manuels (South Africa)
Television match official: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)
Assessor: Tappe Henning (South Africa)

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