Cheetahs v Brumbies preview

Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein, 17.00 (15.00 GMT)


The Brumbies arrived in South Africa on the back of a 26-13 demolition of the Stormers last week and they are desperate to take that momentum into Saturday’s game against the Cheetahs.

Last week was their most impressive performance of the season without a doubt – a game in which they finally reproduced that familiar hard running, expansive game that set them apart from other teams.

The other vital aspect of last week’s game was the strong individual performances from players Adam Ashley-Cooper, George Gregan, Stephen Hoiles, Mark Chisholm and Stirling Mortlock.

Mortlock, in particular, was in devastating form.

But coach Laurie Fisher will not underestimate the Cheetahs, whom he feels remain a major threat, despite the Bloemfontein side coming off a three-match winless spell.

“The Cheetahs are a very, very strong scrummaging team and even though they’ve lost [Springbok prop] CJ van der Linde [to injury for the rest of the season], they’ve still got Os du Randt and a very strong pack of forwards,” Fisher said.

“We need to be improving our scrummaging, it was okay last week but it’s an important area of the game for us to get set piece ball.”

The Brumbies know they have to dominate the set pieces if they want to get that running game going.

Fisher also said he is keen for his side to build on last weekend’s win over the Stormers.

“We made some improvements in the directness of our forward running and the gain line we got through our forwards and we’ll be looking to take that forward again,” he said. “We’ll be looking for our forwards to get a bit harder and a bit straighter, we’ll be looking for some good recycled ball and try to provide a bit of room for our backs to move.”

Cheetahs coach Rassie Erasmus will be hoping his team doesn’t make as many errors as in the last few weeks and that they can start reproducing the form that saw them beat the Stormers and Waratahs in the first three weeks.

Prediction: The Cheetahs will bounce back, the Brumbies will be exciting and allround it will be an entertaining game. But the Cheetahs could pull off an important win here. The Cheetahs by less than 10 points.

Teams:

Cheetahs: 15 Bevin Fortuin, 14 Philip Burger, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Gavin Passens, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Falie Oelschig, 8 Ryno van der Merwe, 7 Juan Smith (c), 6 Hendro Scholtz, 5 Corniel van Zyl, 4 Rory Duncan, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Os du Randt.
Replacements: 16 Ollie le Roux, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Kabamba Floors, 19 Dewald Senekal, 20 Tertius Carse, 21 Herkie Kruger, 22 Marius Joubert.

Brumbies: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Clyde Rathbone, 13 Stirling Mortlock (c), 12 Gene Fairbanks, 11 Mark Gerrard, 10 Julian Huxley, 9 George Gregan, 8 Stephen Hoiles, 7 George Smith, 6 Julian Salvi, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 3 Guy Shepherdson, 2 Jeremy Paul, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Salesi Ma’afu, 18 Peter Kimlin, 19 Jone Tawake, 20 Patrick Phibbs, 21 Peter Playford, 22 Francis Fainifo

Referee: Paul Honiss (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand), Gareth Lloyd-Jones (South Africa)
Television match official: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)
Assessor: Tappe Henning (South Africa)

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