More signings for Cheetahs
Bloemfontein – Free State have secured the services of Sharks centre Andries Strauss and Blue Bulls lock Wilhelm Steenkamp for next season.
The news comes in the wake of Sport24’s revelation that Sevens Springbok Ryno Benjamin will play for the Cheetahs next year.
Free State coach Naka Drotské on Tuesday confirmed that Strauss and Steenkamp would join the Cheetahs for a period of one year.
Strauss (26), a cousin of Free State hooker Adriaan Strauss, made his name as a rookie at Free State and moved to Durban in 2006.
While the centre had to compete with a number of Springboks for a place in the Sharks side and got little game time, he has been a regular in the midfield of late.
The Cheetahs have also renewed the contracts of centres Philip Snyman and Corné Uys for another year.
Strauss is returning to Bloemfontein following the decision by Meyer Bosman to sign for the Sharks.
Steenkamp will improve the Cheetahs’ depth at lock after Barend Pieterse decided to continue his career at the EP-Kings. Pieterse came out of retirement this year and will join his new team-mates in Port Elizabeth on November 1.
Steenkamp (25) made his debut for the Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup in 2005. He also represented South Africa in the 2006 under-21 world championship and played for the Emerging Springboks against the British and Irish Lions last year.
The lock, who weighs 110kg and is 2m tall, had to be satisfied with little game time behind locks such as Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha and Flip van der Merwe at the Bulls and should be a regular for the Cheetahs.
Meanwhile, Drotské is considering changes to his starting line-up for Friday’s Currie Cup match against the Leopards.
One of the changes will have to be a replacement for lock Izak van der Westhuizen, with the youngster having sustained a shoulder injury in the 26-30 defeat to the Lions in Johannesburg and set to be sidelined for a week.
While Sias Ebersohn should get a chance at flyhalf, Louis Strydom is also likely to be available.
Strydom took a knock to the head against the Lions, but backline coach Hawies Fourie believes he should be fit.
Meanwhile, the Free Staters are also sure of the services of under-21 scrumhalf Piet van Zyl for another two years. The Cheetahs lack depth at scrumhalf and Van Zyl may even make an impact for the senior side soon.