Cheetahs target Oz clashes
Cape Town - Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské says their first two games on tour - against Australian teams - will be essential in their Super Rugby season.
The Cheetahs start their Australasian tour with a clash against the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday before taking on the Rebels in Melbourne next Sunday. And Drotské believes these two games, admittedly their two "easier" clashes on tour, will be vital before they fly over to New Zealand to take on the Crusaders and the Hurricanes.
“We have to try and win some games on this tour. There will always be pressure and our focus will be to handle it.
“The first two matches, against the Brumbies and the Rebels, will be very important for us. The Brumbies have lost a heap of experienced players and the Rebels are still rather new in Super Rugby. We need to compensate for the two defeats this season," said Drotské.
On the surface it might look like an uphill battle, but the Cheetahs will go into Saturday’s match against two-time champions, the Brumbies, buoyed by the knowledge that they can win in Australia.
Looking at the stats between the teams, the Brumbies clearly have the upper hand. The Free Staters have never won in the Australian capital in three visits and have only won this corresponding fixture two times out of six.
And while it’s taken them 11 games since 2006, the Cheetahs proved last year in Sydney that they can win Down Under when they shocked the Waratahs by 23-3 - to date their only victory in Australia in 12 attempts. They also scored a good victory against the Brumbies in Bloemfontein.
After conceding six tries to the Bulls last weekend, the Cheetahs will have an improvement on defence in mind when they take on the team now coached by Jake White, who led the Boks to the Rugby World Cup in 2007.
The clash kicks off at 06:35 (SA time) on Saturday.
15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Pat McCabe, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Ita Vaea, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Ben Hand, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander
Substitutes: 16 Anthony Hegarty, 17 Ruaidhri Murphy, 18 Scott Fardy, 19 Michael Hooper, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Zack Holmes, 22 Joseph Toman
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Cameron Jacobs, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Philip Snyman, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 George Earl, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen
Substitutes: 16 Trevor Nyakane, 17 Hercu Liebenberg, 18 Davon Raubenheimer, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Rayno Benjamin