Vodacom Super 14
Cheetahs tackle the scrums
Wian du Preez (Gallo Images)
Bloemfontein – The Cheetahs forwards were made to sweat during their scrum training this week and hope to make up for their humiliation against the Crusaders when they tackle the Chiefs on Friday.
It will be a virtually new front row that will take on the Chiefs in their Super 14 match in Hamilton, with Wian du Preez and Ryno Barnes coming in at loosehead prop and hooker respectively.
The experienced Du Preez is back after Coenie Oosthuizen wore the No 1 jersey against the Brumbies and Crusaders. Barnes will be making his first start due to Adriaan Strauss experiencing pain in his ankle ligaments.
The forwards are also likely to improve with Barend Pieterse at lock.
Juan Smith’s return on the flank is also likely to improve the team’s fortunes.
According to Cheetahs management, the team had a tough scrumming session with scrum coach Os du Randt and they believe there will be an improvement.
Coach Naka Drotské admitted that his team were well beaten in that area by the Crusaders.
“We definitely got a scrumming lesson. They scrummed very well. We worked hard on our scrums this week and hopefully we can put that right against the Chiefs,” he said.
Drotské said after the Crusaders clash that his team had struggled on the tighthead side.
Nel has not been able to build on his good performances in last year’s Currie Cup in his first Super 14. In 2009 he scrummed well against Springboks such as Gurthrö Steenkamp and Beast Mtawarira.
Drotské believes Barnes will cope well at this level.
“There is no doubt about Ryno’s scrumming ability. He was also on the field in the second half when we scrummed better against the Crusaders,” he said.
“It’s a terrific opportunity with the ankle injury that Adriaan has suffered. He deserves a chance.”
Strauss, Davon Raubenheimer (eighthman, shoulder) and Riaan Viljoen (replacement back, shoulder) all have to prove their fitness at Thursday’s captain’s run. Not one of them has trained this week.