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    Gold remains wary of Cheetahs

    2015-02-13 07:10
    Gary Gold and Brendan Venter (Gallo Images)

    Durban - South Africa’s Super Rugby local derbies kick off at Kings Park on Saturday afternoon where the Sharks, with new Director of Rugby Gary Gold in charge for the first time since his move from Japan, will host the Cheetahs.

    The home crowd will be keen to see their team go all the way this year, after a number of close calls in the past.

    This will be an interesting match-up, with the visitors an unpredictable and dangerous side if the mood strikes them. The Sharks know this well, as the Cheetahs managed to register wins in Durban before. In fact, the Cheetahs have won three times from seven visits, but will find the going tough. They last won their opening match in the tournament in 2007 and failed to register an opening weekend win since.

    The Sharks have won their last two season-openers and have beaten the Cheetahs in the opening weekends in 2011 and 2013.

    Visiting coach Naka Drotske has lost a number of stalwarts since the completion of last year's competition and much of his success will depend on the attacking thrust from his back three, where Springboks Willie le Roux and Cornal Hendricks and Springbok tourist Raymond Rhule pose a serious threat. The coach decided to include former Springbok Sevens stepper Clayton Blommetjies on the wing and play Hendricks off the bench as he picked a team ‘suited for the expected coastal conditions’.

    He also handed former Stormers midfielder, Michael van der Spuy a first start for the Bloemfontein side and lock Francois Uys the captain's armband.

    Gold named former Sharks player Waylon Murray at outside centre and included new recruits Renaldo Bothma and Mouritz Botha in the pack. Bismarck du Plessis will again lead the team packed with international experience.

    “For me, the Cheetahs are one of the most dangerous sides to play against and on their day they have the ability to beat any team,” explained Gold.

    “Our guys have prepared well for the tournament and there is a fantastic spirit in the camp. We want to play an exciting brand of rugby that our fans demand, and score tries. The only way to win matches is to score tries and to do that you need to keep the ball in hand. Our players are determined and will give nothing less than 100% effort on the park.”



    15. SP Marais, 14. S’bura Sithole, 13. Waylon Murray, 12. Heimar Williams, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Tera Mtembu, 7. Renaldo Bothma, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Mouritz Botha, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1. Tendai Mtawarira

    Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Matt Stevens, 19. Marco Wentzel,20. Jean Deysel, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Fred Zeilinga, 23. Odwa Ndungane


    15 Willie le Roux, 14 Clayton Blommetjies, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Joe Petersen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Jean Cook, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Danie Minnie.

    Substitutes: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 BG Uys, 18 Maks van Dyk, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Boom Prinsloo, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Willie du Plessis, 23 Cornal Hendricks

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