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    New front row for Cheetahs

    2012-03-20 14:08

    Brenden Nel -  SuperSport

    Christchurch - Toyota Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has changed his front row ahead of the crunch game on Saturday in Christchurch against the Crusaders.

    Kick-off is at 08:35.

    Still on a high from their victory over the Melbourne Rebels, Drotske made three changes to his side to face the Crusaders, rewarding the efforts of flanker Justin Downey and prop Trevor Nyakane in the victory and giving Lourens Adriaanse a start in the game.

    Downey replaces Davon Raubenheimer, who isn’t in the 22-man squad, with no indication from the Cheetahs if the move is tactical or injury-forced. The same goes for WP Nel, who drops out of the squad while Coenie Oosthuizen moves onto the bench.

    But the front row move is an interesting one, especially as the Crusaders struggled in their last outing against the Chiefs in the setpiece, and will be keen to reintroduce some sanity into their play.

    Normally the Crusaders would start as overwhelming favourites, and all indications are that they will be anyway, given the fact that the Cheetahs have never won in New Zealand, but after the miracle of Melbourne, Drotske’s charges will be entering Christchurch with a renewed sense of confidence.

    For one, the Crusaders will be playing for the first time at their new stadium and while Dan Carter is set to return for the game, he may take some time to settle in after a lengthy injury.

    Coupled with the Cheetahs victory in the corresponding fixture in Bloemfontein last year and it is clear why they will fancy their chances against the New Zealand Super-franchise.

    Downey’s impact on the game was impressive. Statistics show that in just 16 minutes on the field he made eight tackles, many of them telling in repelling the Rebels advance.

    Interestingly though, Drotske chooses to keep Ashley Johnson on the bench, hoping his impact in the second half will be as telling.

    Johnson’s ball carries were one of the reasons why the Cheetahs managed to stay in the game, and in his 23 minutes on the park, he took the ball forward a massive 82 metres, making two linebreaks in the process.

    Piet van Zyl, the try-scoring hero in Melbourne, will start from the bench again behind Tewis de Bruyn.

    Teams:

    Crusaders:

    TBA

    Cheetahs:

    15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Cameron Jacobs, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Justin Downey, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 George Earle, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane

    Substitutes: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Andries Ferreira, 19 Ashley Johnson, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Ryno Benjamin

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