Cape Town - Former Springbok fullback Gysie Pienaar has lauded Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské's decision to give No 10 Johan Goosen a full 80 minutes against the Sharks last week.
Goosen, who returned from a long injury layoff last weekend, struggled with his goal-kicking and general play in the first half but got progressively stronger as the match wore on. The Cheetahs produced a spirited second-half display, fighting back from 26-5 down to trail by only four points. A late Pat Lambie penalty assured a 29-22 win for the Sharks.
Pienaar believes Drotské's willingness to give the youngster a full match could already reap rewards this Saturday when the Cheetahs face defending champions, the Chiefs, in Hamilton.
"The longer he (Goosen) stays on the field, the better your chance of victory," Pienaar told the Volksblad website
"His game was clearly rusty in the first half against the Sharks, but the second half would have done his confidence the world of good.
"The Cheetahs made the right decision to keep him on the field.
"He's areal footballer, like Doc (Danie) Craven always used to say. He can kick, attack and defend and then he's also a clever flyhalf. He is someone that gives a lot of direction to a team," said Pienaar.
Meanwhile, Drotské on Wednesday made one change to his starting team for Saturday's clash with Sarel Pretorius
replacing Piet van Zyl at scrumhalf.
The bench shows a couple of changes, most notably Riaan Smit in for injured flyhalf Elgar Watts.
Rynhard Landman also replaces Waltie Vermeulen on the bench. Vermeulen injured his knee against the Sharks and a scan revealed ligament damage which requires surgery.
Griquas flyhalf Burton Francis will fly in
to replace Watts in the touring group, after the latter pulled a hamstring in training on Monday.
Francis will arrive too late to feature in this weekend's squad, but could well play in the Cheetahs' second overseas tour match against Highlanders in Invercargill on March 9.
The Cheetahs' clash against the Chiefs in Hamilton kicks off at 08:35 (SA time) on Saturday morning.Teams:Chiefs:
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius
, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Frans Viljoen, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss
(captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane
Substitutes: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen
, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Johannes Prinsloo, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Riaan Smith, 22 Ryno Benjamin