Cheetahs face uphill battle

2010-03-29 07:38

Johann de Jager

Bloemfontein – The Cheetahs may have been depleted by injuries, but coach Naka Drotské is still determined that they achieve their main goal of winning overseas for the first time.

Drotské warned that the Cheetahs are usually at their most dangerous in their first tour game, which is against the Waratahs on Saturday.

After that they play the Brumbies before crossing the Tasman Sea to New Zealand for games against the Crusaders and Chiefs.

The Cheetahs are facing an uphill struggle without a number of their stars.

Drotské said that they don’t have the depth of other teams.

Loose forwards Heinrich Brüssow (knee) and Frans Viljoen (cheekbone), lock David de Villiers (shoulder) and wing Lionel Mapoe (shoulder) all have serious injuries, while the Cheetahs are also departing without captain Juan Smith.

Smith withdrew shortly before Friday’s match against the Reds to visit his father, who was in critical condition in hospital.

Drotské confirmed that Smith would not play against the Waratahs this week and that he may join the side for the match against the Brumbies.

It appears as if the Waratahs will also have to make do without captain Phil Waugh.

He injured a leg in the win over the Blues and will have a scan on Monday.

“It will help if he does not play as he is a world class player,” said Drotské.

The Cheetahs only managed two wins in their first six games in South Africa and will now throw everything at achieving their first win overseas.

“We have come very close in the past, but have never managed a win and it will be our goal,” said Drotské.

“It’s a dangerous game to tell players that we are targeting this or that game because then they may have the approach that we don’t have to win the others. We will take things week by week.

“The first game on tour has always been the best for us and the one that we have come closest to winning. It’s important therefore that we start the tour well against the Waratahs.”

Fullback Hennie Daniller and wing Jongi Nokwe are available again after recovering from injuries.

Bjorn Basson shone against the Reds in Nokwe’s absence, but was not on the plane on Sunday.

Drotské said that he had been picked in the touring squad, but due to personal reasons decided to stay at home.


  • StuartW - 2010-03-29 08:04

    Dis 'n baie steil heuwel wat voorle vir die Cheetahs. Juan, hoop jou pa is ok. Sterkte vir jou en jou gesin.

  • Cheetahfan - 2010-03-29 09:02

    Ons het nog nooit oorsee gewen nie en het elke moontlike inset nodig om dit te doen. Hoe dink hulle dan om 'n kopdokter in die Curriebeker te gebruik maar nie in die Super 14 nie? Toe hulle verlede jaar van die mislukte toer af terugkom het hulle die kopdokter Christo Spies gebruik en toe vir die Sharks, Crusaders en amper die Bulle geklop. Niemand is in die oploop tot die Curriebeker gebruik nie en toe hulle 4 wedstryde verloor is hy weer betrek, en hulle het 'n groot comeback gemaak. Nou is hulle op toer sonder iemand wat na hulle koppe kyk en dit terwyl beserings ens die span pla. Miskien het die afrigters of administrateurs 'n kopdokter nodiger as die spelers.

  • Scaramouche - 2010-03-29 09:31

    This season started so promising for the Cheetahs with the two victories and playing some qaulity rugby - the best start yet to a Super14 season. But the injuries have been cruel blows and with some chances that they have not taken against the Highlanders and Reds, it will be a reals truggle to retain a credible log position. However, my support will be as loyal as ever and I wish Juan and his family all the best and a speedy recovery for his dad.

  • JB - 2010-03-29 10:48

    Come super14 time every year I am usually shy to say that I am a cheetah supporter (the CC is a different story). I thought this year would be different with their excellent start...but this past 2 weeks saw boring brainless rugby and I am once again. How can you keep on backing your team if they don't shape up. Like Juan Smith said...the Cheetahs are one of the most difficult team, one week they can beat any team and the other they are the most shocking true. I am getting gatvol of this losing habit. The Bulls where there in the early 2000's (couldnt even settle on a jersey colour) and look where they are now!! Does Naka have a succesion plan, does the VRU have any idea where they are heading, are they getting in additional sponsors to keep players...we as supporters need to know these things!! Naka, the kicking game didn't work for 2 weekends now, when will you see the light?

  • JacoE - 2010-03-30 10:52

    If you look at the poor defense in the last two games, it is remarkable to see what impact the loss of Juan and Heinrich made. Defense use to be the Cheetahs point of pride, now it is considered our weakness. This is a coaching failure.

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