Vodacom Super 14

Cheetahs' pace a concern

2009-05-05 21:11
Heini Adams (Gallo)
J.J. Harmse

Pretoria – A good scrumming session, lots of attention to the lineouts and thorough testing of defensive patterns at training on Tuesday suggested the Bulls will not underestimate the Cheetahs in Saturday’s Super14 clash at Loftus Versfeld.

Such preparations may sound elementary, but the attention to detail confirms the seriousness of a game where a victory for the Bulls can virtually ensure them of a spot in the semifinals.

A big performance is expected of the smallest player in the Bulls team, Heini Adams. Not for the first time, he will be filling the boots of Fourie du Preez at scrumhalf.

The 29-year-old Bolander has hardly had a bad game for the Bulls since making his debut against the Brumbies in 2005.

Few will also forget his role in the epic final of 2007, which the Bulls won.

However, he did not play much last year due to a broken leg and has featured in only six games this year.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke admits Du Preez’s injury is a setback, but Adams has his full support.

“It’s no disgrace to be kept out of the side by the best scrumhalf in the world. Heini has proved his ability on a number of occasions,” said Ludeke.

Adams’s service is exceptional, but his tactical kicking is not as impressive as that of Du Preez. However, Ludeke does not believe that will necessitate a change in approach.

“Heini’s box kicks are just as good as Fourie’s. His line kicks may not travel as far, but it’s not a given that we will be kicking that much,” said Ludeke.

The Bulls will chase each kick in numbers.

They expect the Cheetahs will endeavour to beat them with running rugby and have paid a lot of attention to defence.

The Cheetahs’ pace did cause problems for the Bulls in their pre-season clash in Polokwane.

“That result counts for nothing. It was early in the season and both teams were trying out new things,” said Ludeke.

“There was a good atmosphere between the teams prior to the game because the guys realised it was a training game. Much has happened since then.”

Ludeke believes the Cheetahs’ struggles may make them tougher.

“Juan Smith said recently they would like to play with freedom because they no longer have anything to lose. That makes them dangerous because there is no pressure on them,” said Ludeke.

“The guys are preparing with good intensity. They know the Cheetahs will come with a massive onslaught and we will have problems if we’re not prepared for that.”


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