Cheetahs to target Bosman
Bloemfontein - He was highly-rated here as a backline schemer and played well in his first meeting against the Cheetahs, but Meyer Bosman's defence will be thoroughly tested by his former team-mates on Saturday.
The Sharks centre returns to the Free State Stadium in Sharks colours and must not expect a hero's welcome from Corné Uys and Robert Ebersohn.
Uys and Ebersohn often played with Bosman in the Cheetahs midfield before he moved to Durban.
Bosman has not played his best rugby in a Sharks jersey and it's his defence that has been a shortcoming. The Cheetahs will look to exploit it.
While the Sharks won the first meeting between the sides 24-9 in the Shark Tank, they will this time be up against a different Cheetahs side with an added cutting edge to their attack.
Ebersohn and Co dominated the Bulls' centre pairing of Wynand Olivier and Jaco Pretorius last week.
So much so that Ebersohn was named man of the match in spite of the Cheetahs' 21-32 defeat at Loftus Versfeld. His work-rate is very high and he also gives opponents headaches with his footwork.
Bosman's weakness on defence was shown up by the Crusaders' Sonny Bill Williams and the Stormers' Jean de Villiers.
Cheetahs backline coach Hawies Fourie said that the home side had a high regard for Bosman, but also believes he's not currently on song.
"Meyer's distribution is definitely a strength. He is probably the inside centre with the best pass in the country. He played well at the start of the tournament, but has not adapted as well at the Sharks as I thought he would. He has been struggling a little with his form of late," said Fourie.
He believes that Bosman and flyhalf Patrick Lambie are central in the Sharks' attacking plan and that is why the Cheetahs need to disrupt them.
While Bosman's distribution is his strength, opponents have often managed to read some of his passes and intercepted them.
However, Fourie added that the Cheetahs would not necessarily look for the intercept.
"I don't think one should place too much emphasis on it. Our defensive system does not work in such a way that you could go for intercept tries. Bryan Habana read Meyer well when he (Bosman) played for us, but you also make yourself vulnerable on defence when you shoot up for the intercept."
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Viljoen, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Corne Uys, 11 Philip Snyman, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Davon Raubenheimer, 7 Ashley Johnson, 6 Johan Wessels, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen
Substitutes: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Lourens Adriaanse, 18 Izak van der Westhuizen, 19 Pieter Myburgh, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Riaan Smit
15. Louis Ludik, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Stefan Terblanche, 12. Meyer Bosman, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Keegan Daniel, 5. Gerhard Mostert, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Eugene van Staden, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. John Smit (captain)
Substitutes: 16. Tendai Mtawarira, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Alistair Hargreaves, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Frederic Michalak, 21. Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 22. Adrian Jacobs