Vodacom Super 14

Cheetahs need a General

2010-02-02 23:37
Louis Strydom (Gallo Images)
Jóhann Thormählen

Bloemfontein – The Cheetahs are in a race against time to find a play-maker with enough experience and match fitness to wear the No 10 jersey against the Bulls in less than two weeks’ time.

Their opening game in the Super14 is next Friday, but they will wait until the last moment to pick the right general.

As part of the effort to have an experienced fly-half ready, Louis Strydom will play for Free State’s Vodacom Cup side against Griquas in a warm-up game in Douglas on Saturday.

Strydom started training with the Cheetahs on Tuesday after recovering from an operation to his knee.

He would initially have played for the Cheetahs in contact sessions against their second-stringers and the Griffons, but it was decided not to risk him.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské believes it’s important that Strydom gets on the field.

“He is ready to play this weekend and there is an opportunity for him in the match against Griquas. That is why he is playing,” he said.

Naas Olivier, who is expected to wear the No 10 jersey, is set to start training with the team on Wednesday. He sustained a knee injury about four weeks ago and there were fears that he would not be ready to face the Bulls.

His injury is less serious than was initially expected and he has recovered so well that he may be ready to take on the champions.

However, Drotské said that a decision would only be taken when the starting team is announced next week.

The coach is concerned that he is in a position where he is waiting for players in key positions to regain their fitness, but realises it is part of the game.

“We would have liked it to be different, but there are things we cannot control, and injuries are among those factors.”

The Cheetahs’ coaching staff can surprise by picking young fly-half Sias Ebersohn, but they are likely to opt for experience against the Bulls.

Ebersohn got opportunities in the team’s two warm-up games against Eastern Province, as well as against the Griffons and Free State’s second-stringers, in the absence of Olivier and Strydom.

The Vodacom Cup match will also be used to give Cheetahs such as Philip Snyman (centre), Jean Botha (prop), Kobus Calldo (prop), Hans Grobler (hooker) and Kabamba Floors (flanker) game time.

The final Super14 squad of 30 players will be announced on Friday.

While some of the aforementioned players may not be included, they may well get valuable game time.


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