Vodacom Super 14

Cheetahs rookies to step up

2010-04-12 22:44
Davon Raubenheimer (Gallo Images)
Jóhann Thormählen

Bloemfontein – The Cheetahs’ hope of regaining some lost pride on their Super 14 tour against the Crusaders on Saturday will rest on the shoulders of a new halfback pairing and eighthman.

Sarel Pretorius (scrumhalf), Riaan Viljoen (fly-half) and Davon Raubenheimer (eighthman) may be among the new faces in coach Naka Drotské’s line-up.

The Griquas trio, who all impressed as substitutes in Saturday’s match against the Brumbies in Canberra, were among the few positives to emerge from the 15-61 defeat.

The Cheetahs’ injury list is also growing and they are running out of luck.

They also have to make do without captain and flanker Juan Smith, whose father passed away, and eighthman Kabamba Floors following his suspension of five weeks. It is therefore time for the rookies to step up to the plate.

Raubenheimer started the season out of favour, but showed against the Brumbies that he should be on tour and he will probably make his run-on debut against the Crusaders at No 8.

With so many loose forwards out of action, the Cheetahs have no option but to persevere with Barend Pieterse on the flank.

Sevens Springbok Philip van der Walt, who has replaced Smith as a flanker in the squad, will be a substitute and become the 12th player to make his Super 14 debut.

Pretorius was a breath of fresh air against the Brumbies and deserves a start in the run-on team.

“Sarel made a big difference and will start against the Crusaders,” said Drotské.

Meanwhile, the Cheetahs have decided not to appeal Floors’s suspension.

Drotské agrees that he received a heavy punishment and that there is a lack of consistency considering similar cases, but he does not believe it’s worth lodging an appeal.

“If a guy got a heavy punishment the chances are very slim that the suspension will be reduced on appeal,” he said.

Floors is on his way home, but cannot be replaced as a result of being suspended.


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