Vodacom Super 14

Shock Cheetahs selections

2010-02-08 23:52
Naka Drotské (Gallo Images)
Jóhann Thormählen

Bloemfontein – Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské has made a few shock selections for Friday’s Super14 opener against the Bulls.

Drotske’s 22-man squad includes seven Super14 rookies and the new blood may just be what the Cheetahs need to start the competition on a winning note.

Riaan Viljoen (fullback), Lionel Mapoe (right wing) and Ashley Johnson (No 8) will make their debut in the starting team, while Ryno Barnes (hooker), Coenie Oosthuizen (prop), Walti Vermeulen (lock) and Sias Ebersohn (flyhalf) will get the chance to play off the substitutes bench for the first time.

Supporters will also be delighted that flyhalf Naas Olivier passed a fitness test and will be able to start.

“He showed in the Currie Cup that he is the top flyhalf in the region and is important for us as far as penalties are concerned,” said Drotské.

Viljoen was picked ahead of Hennie Daniller at fullback and will bring calm in the face of the Bulls’ aerial attack.

The Springbok’s boot can also be useful for possible long-range drop goals and penalties.

Tewis de Bruyn’s experience and kicking ability got him the nod at scrumhalf ahead of Sarel Pretorius.

Johnson won the race for the No 8 jersey over Frans Viljoen because of the Bulls’ kicking tactics.

“Ashley is a little better under the high ball than Frans. Frans is very physical and his impact in the second half will play a big role,” said Drotské.

Vermeulen and Ebersohn’s inclusion came as shocks. It is Vermeulen’s lineout prowess that got him the nod ahead of locks such as Izak van der Westhuizen and Rudi Mathee.

“We are playing against Victor Matfield and may need two lineout locks on the field,” said Drotské.

Many people view this as Ebersohn’s year and he impressed enough to be handed the job as Olivier’s deputy ahead of Louis Strydom.

The additional flyhalf is a precautionary measure as Olivier has only just been declared fit after struggling with a knee injury.

“Sias did well in the pre-season, but Naas has not played much and will probably not be able to play for 80 minutes,” said Drotské.


Riaan Viljoen, Lionel Mapoe, Corné Uys, Meyer Bosman, Jongi Nokwe, Naas Olivier, Tewis de Bruyn, Ashley Johnson, Juan Smith (captain), Heinrich Brüssow, David de Villiers, Nico Breedt, WP Nel, Adriaan Strauss, Wian du Preez

Substitutes: Ryno Barnes, Coenie Oosthuizen, Walti Vermeulen, Frans Viljoen, Sarel Pretorius, Sias Ebersohn, Danwel Demas


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