Cheetahs to fight on

After a heavy defeat against the Crusaders, the Cheetahs were set to re-establish some dominance at home against the Chiefs – but instead of a win sending them into the top four of the Super 14, they drew, and find themselves at eighth.

Now with a spate of injuries, the Cheetahs are having to dig deep as they prepare to face a Sharks side yet to lose.

Naka Drotske, team manager, ellucidated upon the injury concerns.

“Adriaan Strauss will be out for three to five months, while Darron Nel is out for 8 weeks. The good news is that Jannie du Plessis will be able to play on Saturday, as will Ollie le Roux.”

But the Cheetahs chief concern is at lock where Barend Pieterse, Darron Nel and Rory Duncan are all injury-stricken.

“We have drafted in Cliff Milton from the Bulls as further back-up should there be another injury in the second row, but we have adequate cover in the likes of Bian Vermaak and Duane Vermeulen, whilst Juan Smith can also cover at lock.”

Drotske admits that the side is “disappointed” after the draw, but they will never cease to be positive.

“There is still a long way to go in the competition. And the Lions and the Stormers have shown you can win when you go on tour overseas.

“But we have two more games at home, against the Sharks and the Cheetahs, and we want to win those to take a positive vibe with us overseas, and then anything can happen in the latter stages.”

Drotske is also conscious of the stern test which his side faces this weekend.

“The Sharks are a very well-balanced side. They have a strong pack, they have game-breakers, and they can also play a good kicking game.”

There are not likely to be too many changes for the Cheetahs at the weekend either.

“Besides the draw, Rassie [coach Rassie erasmus] was actually quite happy with the performance.”


365 Digital

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