News24

Cheetahs shine in Cape sun

2012-02-04 20:40

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - The Cheetahs, perhaps with just a hint of a Super Rugby survival threat beginning to prey on their minds, are clearly determined to hit the 2012 conference trail running.

That much seemed apparent in their pre-season match against the Stormers on a sun-soaked Newlands evening on Saturday, with Naka Drotske’s charges presumably well chuffed about prevailing 22-14 before a crowd of almost 11 000.

In many respects it was a “both teams win” sort of outing, nevertheless, as the hosts, last season’s best South African team in the competition, put out a starting XV considerably more second-string in nature than the Cheetahs combination yet hung in there quite pleasingly for the lion’s share of the game.

Of Saturday’s Stormers side, only captain Schalk Burger, who played for about 70 minutes with typical ruggedness and gusto, is absolutely guaranteed to be a first-choice when the Hurricanes come to town in three weeks for the opening fixture of the season-proper.

So the fact that it was a largely ding-dong affair until four minutes from the last siren -- when substitute flyhalf Sias Ebersohn landed a penalty to take the gap between the teams to eight points for the first time -- meant the hosts’ management could mostly take positive elements from the exercise.

Certainly there are heaps of Stormers greenhorns, across the park, who look as though they may well blossom if pitted alongside some wise old heads in Super Rugby, even if they would understandably not quite be ready yet as a mass youthful entity to knock over the bigger ‘uns in the competition.

For the Cheetahs, meanwhile, this was a heartening display, considering that with the Southern Kings muscling into the picture next season, six South African teams may suddenly be scrapping for only five berths if SANZAR stubbornly refuses to expand further the 15-team set-up.

Probably unjustly, the ever-spirited central franchise may become an endangered species, or have to pally up awkwardly to the Lions for a two-in-one combo once more.

But if they are defiant in their quest to remain a credible standalone force, this was a good way to demonstrate it.

They had an edge in good real estate, and made a vital nuisance of themselves on the opposition throw at the lineouts, where Izak van der Westhuizen was prominent as a poacher.

The encounter was by no means a classic, although you do not expect that sort of phenomenon in the sweaty first week of February and from a defensive organisation point of view the Cheetahs, especially, looked resolute and competent.

You sense increasingly that the Stormers will be trying to put the ball through hands more prolifically than they did last year, even from long-range positions, so the fact that they struggled to manufacture high-tempo overlaps or explosive incursions off pop passes was a tribute to the visitors’ tenacity and awareness in tackle situations.

There was one try apiece, with the critical difference being the dynamite-laden boot of Cheetahs No 10 Johan Goosen, who accounted for 14 points through three penalties, a dropped goal and the conversion of Rocco Jansen’s touchdown.

He is an incredibly talented youngster, even if sometimes you feel he puts a tad too much faith in his ability to kick the leather off the ball out of his hand.

Goosen slightly overdid an often misdirected up-and-under, in situations where a crisp pass to his three-quarters appeared a wiser course of action, but these are simply rough edges you would expect from a customer starting just his second season at first-class level.

The fixture had a stop-start characteristic, despite both teams’ best intentions for positivity, with Craig Joubert frequently penalising the Stormers at the breakdown.

Sadly this was yet another modern rugby match, too, where lovers of a good scrummaging contest would have left frustrated and disillusioned: there were engagement offences aplenty, and in the rare instances where we did get a stage further than that, invariably a front row collapse would spoil the spectacle anyway.

This phase is a shambles, pretty much worldwide, and needs urgent remedial action.

On the whole, Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is unlikely to lose too much sleep over this little hiccup: his extended squad have had three satisfactory gallops now, winning two of them, and with essential, gnarly forward components like Andries Bekker and Duane Vermeulen about to come out of injury-enforced hibernation, some of Saturday’s little gremlins ought to quickly be ironed out anyway ...

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing
 

Sport24

Comments
  • Johan - 2012-02-04 21:08

    Hell Rob, your underpants really hangs out!!!!!!!!!

  • Pieter - 2012-02-04 21:35

    BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA En die maer jare duur voort! 11 years cupless here we come. Hi foeitog, gaan die goed OOIT weer 'n bekertjie wen ma se honne???

      Bulldozer - 2012-02-04 22:58

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  • Riaan - 2012-02-04 22:54

    Ja Bulldozertjie ek se mos lank lank gelede.....mof

  • Caroline - 2012-02-04 23:28

    B ulldozer ek neem aan dat jy vanjaar in klas 2 is, waar jy ook die ander 24 letters van die alfabet kan leer want dit lyk of jy nog net die h en die a geleer het.

      Bulldozer - 2012-02-04 23:29

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

      Bulldozer - 2012-02-04 23:50

      Geen cups vir 11 jaar. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

  • Colin - 2012-02-05 00:13

    Ho hum!!! BORING!

      pieter.bosch - 2012-02-05 00:24

      Snap

      pieter.bosch - 2012-02-05 03:56

      Jan ek stem absoluut saam met Colin (snap) dat julle twee se bekgeveg (mmm kuberrruimtewoordgeveg) maar bra eentonig is/was en dat julle maar baie herhalend was. Ek glo nie iemand gee om wie die woordgeveg gewen het nie, as jy dink jy het dit gewen, wel moenie jouself so baie daaroor herhaal nie (Tweede gedagte jy mag maar, ek het soos jy se nie reg op wat en hoeveel mense mag se nie). Wat franchises betref. Jy is reg, dit sal moeilik wees vir spelers om die WP soos tans te haal, maar soos die meeste ander franchises kan getuig, aangesien ouens van daardie streke tans vir hulle speel, is daar baie rugbypotensiaal in die toekoms en nou daar en sal dit verder help met WP se diepte om dit nog meer n superunie te maak. In elk geval is dit maar net n aanknopingspunt en weet ek nie hoe SARU die Kings gaan regverdig nie. Groete en lekker slaap..

      Bulldozer - 2012-02-05 05:42

      Pieter, die ou wen maar min. Gee dit maar vir hom. Hy het niks beter gehad om te doen terwyl sy pies in die microvawe was nie.

  • Wayne - 2012-02-05 11:21

    Cool, great om te sien dat die Cheetahs 'n goeie ritme begin bou. WP JOU LEKKER DING

      paul.prinsloo3 - 2012-02-05 12:04

      Suid Afrika het GROTER probleme en die sinnelose; soms erg kru, beledigings oor voorkeure en andersins, van rugby spanne en spelers, sal NIKS aan lewensbelangrike sake maak nie. Na die Britse Olimpiese spele, so glo ek, sal daar nooit weer groot spotbyeenkomste van enige aard wees nie. Se koebaai vir die malligheid

  • tuckytatham - 2012-02-05 12:51

    it is apparent that @robhouwing is a MASSIVE province supporter....

  • franklin.coetzee - 2012-02-05 13:17

    Stormers staan groot kans en hou op so swartgallig wees, veral die tienman Blou Fulletjies. Al team wat dop gehou moet word is Crusaders, dis nou buiten die Stormers.

  • Colin - 2012-02-05 13:47

    SAZAR Stubborn ? What a silly remark. Is it because the already overloaded Super15 are not be be expanded ? They should never have gone past 12 teams in the first place. Which teams qualify ? Those who deserve it on merit, of course !

  • Johan - 2012-02-05 14:40

    ongelooflik!...het julle niks anders om te doen as om julle onnoselheid hier op internet te reflekteer nie?

      Bulldozer - 2012-02-05 16:10

      Nee, het jy?

  • Jenny - 2012-02-06 09:06

    I was at the game and hung my head in shame with all the locals BOOing

      Brevan - 2012-02-06 10:17

      It happens at every game in every stadium. I don't like it either, but it has become a part of sport everywhere it seems. I assume it was your first time at a sporting event? If you can't handle it when there's 11 000 people, then you should stay away when there's 40 000+ during the super 15.

      Jenny - 2012-02-08 09:31

      Wrong Brevan, i have been to many stadiums, only time i have experienced that is at Newlands

  • Dirco - 2012-02-06 09:36

    belaglik!!!!

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