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Hallo all rugby addicts! It’s good to see the blogging intensifying, as prep for the 2012 Super 15 has started in earnest at all the franchises. Rassie’s antics has stolen my thunder momentarily, but I’M BACK!

Anyway, back to my series of articles on contenders for the Cheetahs 2012 Super squad. Tall Timber is next. An area where the Cheetahs have not had dominance since David de Villiers’ departure. We have had some good locks, guys like Braam Els, Flippie, Rory Duncan, and Barend Pieterse,  but we need some staunch players to really get the powerful Cheetahs scrum to become destroyers!

The Contenders:

Andries Stephanus Ferreira:

 D.O.B: 29 March 1990

Vital Statistics: (H) 197 cm (W) 117 kg

His claim: Born in Despatch, the dorpie of famous players like Danie Gerber, and “Domkrag” Erasmus, Andries made his mark, at the u/16 Craven Week for EP in 2005, He also represented the Blue Bulls, at u/18 Craven Week and  SA Schools team in 2008. He has represented the Bulls, at u/19, u/21, and Vodacom Cup. He signed for the Cheetahs to get more game time, and has already impressed in his first “practice” match vs the Griffons.

Strengths: Haven’t seen much of the man, but at 197 cm, and 117 kg’s he is quite strapling lad, that could add considerable bulk to the Cheetahs 2nd row. He is earmarked to fill the spot left vacant by Wilhelm Steenkamp for the No. 5 lock position.

Weaknesses:  Haven’t seen him play as yet.

Bok Potential:  Only 22, time is on his side to establish himself. The void left by Big Vic, and Bakkies, will ensure a good old squabble for places in the bok second row in years to come. Bekker has the inside track, but guys like Juandre Kruger, Hargreaves, Eztebeth, and a host of other including Ferreira will have a full tilt.


Francois Uys:

 D.O.B: 12 March 1986

Vital Statistics: (H) 194 (W) 108 kg

His claim:  Francois Uys represented the Valke at the 2005 u/18 Craven week.  He went on to represent the Lions at U/19 level, as well as the Junior Boks at the 2005 IRB u/19 World Championships. He moved to the Cheetahs in 2009, and played against the British & Irish Lions. He has become the Cheetahs “hard man” in the team, and is highly under rated. Equally proficient as a backrow forward, he has successfuly made the transition to lock.

Strength:  Very mobile and athletic, he jumps well at the front of the line-outs, and is a good ball carrier, and link man. With the likes of Juan back to take tail ball, the Cheetahs will be very competitive in the line-outs.

Weaknesses: Not the tallest, but using shorter, robust, and even converted flankers has become a bit of the norm of late.

Bok potential: The competition for the Bok locking position is open, and the boots that need to be filled are big indeed. Don’t think Uys will be seen as a contender for Bakkies’No. 4 place, but who knows. Other contenders are Roodt, Estebeth, Jandre Marais, Flip vd Merwe, and Elstadt.


 George (Gorgeous George) Earl:

D.O.B: 9 January 1987

Vital Statistics: (H) 197 cm (W) 110 kg

His claim: Durban born George, started  his rugby career at the u/18 Craven week in 2005 representing Natal. He then signed with WP, and represented WP at u/19, u/21 and Vodacom Cup level, before moving to Boland Cavaliers for the 2009 season. He then moved to the Lions where he made a useful contribution in the 2010 Super 14. Currently contracted to Griquas, he will add value to the Cheetahs Super Rugby campaign, which is sure to be ardous.

Strengths: Quite a sturdy lad at 110 kg, he has impressed with his lineout jumping and his ball carries.

Weaknesses:  None to my knowledge

Bok potential: It’s open season, and although some players are earmarked, no reason why the younger players can’t force their way in. At 25, George is still in his prime.


Izak Petrus van der Westhuizen:

D.O.B: 23 January 1986

Vital Statistics: (H) 196 cm (W) 111kg

His claim: Starting his representative rugby for Griquas at the 2004 u/18 Craven week, he has been in the Cheetahs system since. He has represented the Cheetahs at u/19, U/21, Vodacom Cup, and Currie Cup level. He made his Super Rugby debut in 2011.

Strengths: Athletic player, he has done relatively well in his appeareances for the Cheetahs.

Weaknesses:  None that I am aware of, he just has to impose himself on his opponents.

Bok potential: At 26, he can still make the step up.


John Charles Astle:

D.O.B: 30 August 1990

Vital statistics: (H) 198 (W) 92 kg

His claim: Highly regarded in the cheetahs camp, JC represented the Natal Schools at the 2008 u/18 Craven week. He has since represented the Cheetahs at u/19,u/21 and Vodacom Cup level, as well as in the Varsity Cup.

Strengths: Don’t know much about him, except that the Cheetah coaches hold im in high regard

Weaknesses: If the SA Rugby stats of 92 kg is to believed, he will need to bulk up pretty fast to compete

Bok potential: None at present.


Martin Dirk Muller:

D.O.B: 23 March 1988

Vital statistics: (H) 198 cm (W) 110 kg

His claim:  Bishops boy, Martin represented WP and SA Schools at u/18  level in 2006 and continuedrepresenting WP, at u/19, u/21, Vodacom Cup, and Currie Cup level. He also represented SA at the 2008 IRB Junior World Championship. He signed for Griquas in 2011, and was immediately used by the Cheetahs in the 2011 Super Rugby tournament.

Strengths: He is a very good lineout option, and is prepared to mix it.

Weaknesses:  None to my knowledge.

Bok potential: As a former Junior Bok, why not! and aged 24, he can still force his way in.


Ockert Petrus (Okkie) van Zyl:

D.O.B: 06 May 1991

Vital statistics: (H) 195 cm (W) 94 kg

His claim: Made his debut for the Cheetahs u/19 in 2010, and played for the Griquas u/21 in 2011, I am in the dark in all honesty. He went to school in Nelspruit according to Sa Rugý’s stats, which makes me even more embarresed that I can’t shed more light.


Petrus van der Walt (Waltie) Vermeulen:

D.O.B:  11 November 1988

Vital statistics: (H) 198 cm (W) 112 kg

His claim: Born and raised in the City of Roses (literally and figuratively) Waltie represented the Cheetahs at 2006 Craven week for u/18’s. He has since represented the Cheetahs at u/21, Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup, and Super 14 level. He has performed satisfactoraly, without making huge waves, but will look to establish himself.

Strengths: A good lineout proponent, and he hasn’t been shy to mix it.

Weaknesses: No apparent weaknesses, just needs to assert himself on the opposition more.

Bok potential: At 23, he can still get there.


Wild Cards: 


Frederik Albertus (Frikkie) Spies:

D.O.B: 08 February 1985

Vital statistics: (H) 196 cm (w) 120kg

His claim: Born in my birthtown of Odendaalsrus, Frikkie represented the Lions at u/20, u/21, Vodacom Cup  and Currie Cup level. He has also represented the Cheetahs and Boland Cavaliers before moving to Griquas.

Strenghts: He is quite a big fellow at 120 kg’s, but I haven’t seen him play enough.


Jaco Nepgen:

D.O.B: 03 January 1986

Vital statistics: (H) 198 cm (W) 110 kg

His claim: Another player from the Maties factory. Jaco represented Boland at u/18 in 2004, before being selected by WP. He represented WP at u/19, and u/21, as well as SA Students in 2008 and 2009. He then moved to Griquas and has played Vodacom cup, and Currie Cup for them.

Strengths: Tall, and strong, he is also a useful flanker.


Rynhard Jaco (Ligtoring) Landman:

D.O.B: 24 July 1986

Vital statistics: (H) 196 cm (W) 114 kg

His claim: Apart from his nickname, which is quite descriptive, Rynard has been around the block. He started by representing EP at the u/18 Craven week in 2004. He then represented the Leopards at u/19, u/21, Vodacom Cup, and Currie Cup. He was also selected for the Royal XV that faced the British & Irish Lions in 2009, as well as being drafted into the 2009 Lions Super 14 squad. He was also part of the successful Boland Cavaliers side of 2011.

Strengths: Anothe strapling lad that can add bulk to the second row.


Christiaan Stephanus (Windpomp) van Rooyen:

D.O.B: 29 April 1981

Vital statistics: (H) 200cm (W) 137 kg

His claim: Part of the successful u/21 World Champion side of 2002, that included players like Rathbone, and Pedrie Wannenburg, Windpomp (another colourful name) has been around the block. He has represented Leopards at u/21 and Cuurie Cup level, and has also played for Griquas, and Griffons at Vodacom Cup, and Currie Cup level. He has Super Rugby experience, courtesy of a stint with the Cats in 2005.  He is getting a bit long in the tooth at 31, but he could be useful should injuries decimate.

Strengths: If his weight of 137 kg is correct, then he needn’t even push in the scums, he can just lean against them.


My Picks:

If we look at recent player movements to Griquas, Griffons, and Cheetahs, the Cheetahs franchise, suddenly find themselves with a wealth of talent to pick from. Arguably most of these big fellas, aren’t the starts of 2011, but most have been around the scene for a few years, and could add value. What is apparent, is that the Cheetahs, have loads of Tall Timber to use if injuries mount.

At 4, Francois Uys is very underrated. A high workrate and a physical presence makes him invaluable. Other players that could force Naka’s hand, and provide useful rotation,  are George Earle, Izak vd Westhuizen, and Ligtoring Landman.

At 5 there is good competition. Andries Ferreira should have the inside track, with Martin Muller injured. Other players that could challenge are Frikkie Spies, Waltie Vermeulen, Izak vd Westhuizen, and if fit in time Muller.

To summarise. The Cheetahs who are notorius for getting unheralded players to perform exceptionally well as a team, the lock stocks look good for 2012.

So a tight five selected from Coenie, Marcel vd Merwe, Strauss, Barnes, WP Nel, Adriaanse, Ferreira, Uys, Earle and vd Westhuizen should be quite useful in what will be a stern testing enviroment!

 Go Cheeeeeetahs!!

23 Responses to Cheetahs Super Rugby contenders (continued) – Tall Timber

  • 1

    The only thing that this elaborate list of possible contenders, from all over the Country, highlight is the fact that the Cheetahs have no clear massive favourites for the 2 lock positions…

    … and despite the flurry of candidates, the Toyota Cheetahs are stuck with unproven and mediocre locks for the season!

  • 2

    Lol, unproven yes, mediocre maybe, but at the Cheetahs we can turn mediocre players into a real pain in the ass! David de Villiers was also mediocre, but then he was later highly rated by the King, Matfield himself.

    Compared to the other Unions the Cheetah lock situation might not arouse much interest, but I reckon they will combine well as usual, and be very useful in competeing at lineouts, and contesting scrums. Their real value I suspect will be in rucks, where most of the Cheetahs starters are proving to be very adept!

    Bulls have Juandre Kruger (Highly rated), Wilhelm Steenkamp, (not any better than the Cheetahs mediocre locks), Fudge (does a Sundae spring to mind) Mabeta injured, Flip vd Merwe, who has not played the world alight recently, Daniel Adongo, big hype, but also untested, Cornell Hess, bright prospect, but young and untested. Who else GBS?

    Lions have Hendrik Roodt, who might prove to be a Bok challenger, Franco vd Merwe, oupa Wikus, Marius Coetzer (Pumas)and who else?

    Stormers have Bekker (rehab) De Kock Steenkamp (mediocre) Estebeth (yet to start a Super match, but promising) Elstadt, and “yellow-card”Lobberts

    Sharks have Hargreaves, Jan-Andre Marais, Bressler, and ?

    So even though the Cheetahs have no recognised stars, I think they are well settled. Andries ferrera, might become a loss for the Bulls.

  • 3

    2 @ Cheetah4eva:
    I’m not denigrating the Cheetahs locks, I’m saying that there is uncertainty, no clear stars…. and that you and other Cheetahs are HOPING for the guys to stand up to be counted.

    That the other SA Franchises have similar situations might be so, but the fact of the matter is we are discussing the merits and demerits, in this Article of the Cheetahs locks, which we have to analize in terms of team strenghts and weaknesses and team depth.

    I agree with you however that the Cheetahs always make their forwards potent enough, really competative and am personally hoping a great No 4 lock appears on the SA radar, whether from the Cheetahs or Bulls or wherever… we need able replacements at the Bokke for Bakkies Botha & Danie Pakslae Rossouw to come through the ranks.

    Regarding the Bulls… Fudge is injured and won’t take part in Super Rugby 2012, but Gerrit-Jan van Velze is in the process (since just before Currie Cup 2011) to be converted from No 8 to No 4 lock…. following the very modern phenomina of converting a loosie to lock to act as extra breakdown chaser.

    So, the Bulls Have 2 clear No 4 locks in Flip van der Merwe (Springbok) and Gerrit-Jan van Velze and 2 clear No 5 locks in Juandre Kruger (possible 2012 Bok already) and Wilhelm Steenkamp who’s got a heap of Super Rugby experience. Then there is still Daniel Adongo (you should see the dude, he is massive) and Hess to fall back on.

    What I’m saying is that the Bulls lock pecking order for the season is sorted, backup adequate… even though the Bulls lost 3 Springbok legend locks all at once at the end of 2011.

    The Sharks have a clear lock problem, and if I was them I would convert Alberts or Deysel to a No 4 lock to assist the lightweight stringbeans of Hargreaves and Skeate and Bressler.

    The Lions have Oupa Wikus at No 4 (another converted loosie), but Franco van der Merwe and Hendrik Roodt are not the best in the business and are lightweights in Super Rugby terms… and the Lions have a massive lock problem to sort out this year.

    The Stormers… with their light 5… what can I say about them? Bekker will spend a lot of time in the backline as center again, Elstadt at No 4 (I rate him). Young Etsebeth is going to be a massive Bok relatively soon, watch my words. De Kock, much like his Bulls brother, is just adequate, nothing special. The thing about the Stormers though is that we know it is Elstadt (No 4) and Andries Bekker (No 5) as first choice locks, so they are settled and the pecking order is clear and established.

  • 4

    I think Jean Cook from the Cheetahs has also signed for the Bulls. He was quite promising for the Jong Bokkie, and can also play 8th man. Agree, the Cheetahs will probably start with Uys at 4, and it seems as if Andries Ferreira will get the nod. Have you got more info on him? Muller is out injured!

    At 4 Earl who was good for the Lions could be a surprise at 4, and then as you say, alot of unheralded players. That said vd Westhuizen, Walti Vermeulen, have all played Super Rugby.

    Looking at the actual lineout operation itself, Juan (if fit) is a recognised, and very effiecient lineout option at the back, as is Raubenheimer. So the Cheetahs should have a number of tall players which helps in the variation. Recognised lineout proponents in the Cheetahs squad apart from the locks, are Juan smith, Phillip vd Walt, Raubenheimer, and Karemaker. I suspect this would be the case at most franchises

  • 5

    4 @ Cheetah4eva:
    Yip Jean Cook is with the Bulls… saw him at the Media Briefing and Party late last year I attended at the Bulls.

    Don’t know much about Andries Ferreira.

    Cheetahs should move Juan Smith to No 4 lock, if and when fully fit.

    There is a lot of good loosies, but Juan could bolster the locks.

  • 7

    6 @ smallies72:

    Wat van die:

    1. Daar is in 1 game 168 of meer Breakdown situasies… die moderne tendens is om vinniger en meer effektief by die afbreekpunte te wees.
    2. Cheetahs het min goeie slotte, baie goeie loosies.
    3. Dit sal ook plek bied vir Ashley Johnson op Nr 7.
    4. Juan is reeds ‘n goeie lynstaanproponent.
    5. Met die oog op die Bokke, maak dit sin, Brussow op Nr 6, Schalla op Nr 7, Juan in Bakkies se plek op Nr 4, Alberts op Nr 8

    Onthou, Juan kannie vir ewig aangaan nie, en sy beseringspook pla baie…. is hy enigsins nog die beste Nr 7 in die Cheetahs, om nie eers meer te praat van in die ganse wêreld nie.

    Geen dwaasheid nie, mens noem dit fyn beplanning in samehang met moderne rugby.

    Mens sou sweer Juan Smith is die 2de Messias, soos jy aangaan!

  • 8

    Lol, Moenie vir smallies raas nie. Juan is vir die Cheetahs wat Matfield vir die Bulle was. Ek verstaan jou redes GBS, maar Uys speel klaar dieselfde tipe patroon op 4 as wat Juan sou. In die Cheetahs pak, is daar in elke geval genoeg spelers wat balle jaag, soms is hulle in mekaar se pad lol. Imo is Uys meer fisiek op 4, waar Juan meer na spasie toe hardloop. Ek sal wag om te sien hoe die nuwelinge speel, maar ek dink die sloote gaan ons verras hierdie jaar

    Coenie, Strauss, Wp Nel, Brussow, en Johnson is almal, redelik gou by die afbreekpunte. Ons sal maar moet wag en sien, ek glo Juan sal die beserings spook oorwin, en sy beste spelpeil weer herwin.

    Tyd sal wel leer in hoe mate die nuwe sloote by die groep ‘n impak sal maak. Daar is in elke geval genoeg losvoorspelers dat Naka in ‘n krisi vir Juan kan speel op 4.

    6. Brussow/Johnson of Wessels
    7. Juan/Phillipvd Walt of Johnson
    8. Karemaker/Raubenheimer/vd walt of Johnson

  • 10

    Oh waaaaaar is Loskoppie deesdae?

  • 11

    9 @ smallies72:
    Opinies is soos poepholle… jy het joune, ek het myne…. elkeen het ene…. joune stink.

    Die Bulle is OK op slot, ten spyte van die feit dat hulle 3 Springbok legendes sopas verloor het.

    Cheetah4eva het genoem Muller is beseer, so dadelik is daar ‘n probleem met die Staat slotte.

    Ek luister baie makliker na Cheetah4eva se argumente as joune, hy kom nie net bloot uit met emosinele diaree nie, hy gee alternatiewe en motiveer behoorlik hoekom hy so sê…. en sy argumente is solid.

    8 @ Cheetah4eva:
    Persoonlik dink ek Ashley Johnson het blerrie goed gedoen op blindekant, daarom soek ek na ‘n oplossing waar hy en Raubenheimer ook in die Staat beginspan inskakel.

    Weereens, ek dink verder na ‘n Springbok oplossing ook, met Scalla wat nie vir Brussow se possisie moet meeding nie, maar eerder vir Nr 7 flank, wat hom in Juan Smith se pad plaas vir daai possisie… en die Bokke wat ‘n nuwe Nr 4 moet vind.

    Tyd sal leer wat die Staat gaan doen, dis hulle keuse, hulle weet wie is besig om te shape en wie nie… hulle weet beter waar hulle knelpunte lê. Ek is nie voorskriftelik nie, ek spreek bloot my wens uit, hopelik in Cheetah en Nasionale belang.

    PS! Die Wessels ou speel goeie rugby, goeie 2de fetcher wat julle het! Julle loosies gaan dodelik wees!

  • 12

    @ GBS,
    Stem! Wessels het goeie vordering getoon. Ek wil ook graag sien of die “hype”rondom Justin Downey geregverdig is. Ja Ash het goed gespeel, maar die knaap het getrou sien, dan kan ‘n man se kop hom verlaat ha ha. Naka het ‘n goeie “probleem” rondom die losvoorspelers. Dalk sal ‘n goeie oplossing weees op Brussow op 6, Johnson op 7 en Juan op 8 te speel, hy het al daar gespeel. Dan kan ‘n ou soos vd Walt op die bank sit.

    Ek hoop ook in terme van Bok belang dat ons ‘b goeie 4 slot sal vind. Roodt het goed begin speel laat in die CC, en sal interesant wees om te sien hoe vaar hy by die Lions. Estebeth, en Elstadt toon belofte, en Jan-andre Marais van die Sharks het ook my oog gevang. Ek dink nie ons sit in tamatie straat nie.

    4 slotte wat na vore kan tree na my mening. Roodt, Flippie (hy was nie goed laas jaar nie) Bresler, Jan Andre Marais, Bresler, Elstadt, Estebeth, Earle en miskien kort ons weer ‘n bok speler met ‘n esentrike naam om die Ingelse kommentators te “confuculate!” ‘n ou soos Ligtoring Landman hee hee.

  • 14

    12 @ Cheetah4eva:
    Pasop, Smalpielletjies gaan vir jou in Bold skree… Juan is die wêreld se beste blindekant, nie ‘n Nr 8 nie….. hehehe

    Dink die Nr 4 slot gaan uitgeveg word by die Bokke tussen Flippie en Elstadt.

    Eben Etsebeth is ‘n Nr 5 slot, baie atleties, Langbek Bekker moet pasop, daai laaitie gaan hom gas gee daar by Problems!

    Die ander manne wat jy noem, sal DRASTIES moet verbeter om my enigsins te impress as Bok contenders.

    13 @ smallies72:
    Ou mater, jy moet objektiewe kritiek oor jou Cheetahs beter kan verwerk tjomma… daar sal geleentheid vir jou wees om die Bulls, Sharks, Lions en Stormers knelpunte en swakhede ook uit te wys en jou daarin te verlustig.

  • 15

    12 @ Cheetah4eva:
    Hahaha, het Johnson die strop om die nek gekry….

    Dis goeie nuuus vir julle man, hy gaan baie meer aggressief wees…. minder seks het daai uitwerking!

  • 17

    16 @ smallies72:
    Opinies, opinies… stinkie!

  • 19

    18 @ smallies72:
    Hey, ek is miskien OUD, maar ek is nie ‘n mannetjietjie nie…. ek is GROOTbloubrilman!

    Moer jouself gou 2 keer met ‘n ponkiediel op die babertjie!

  • 20

    Smallies en GBS,
    Lol jule twee is heel grappig vandag!

  • 21

    20 @ Cheetah4eva:
    Moet mos maar grappig wees, as ek met die diere klets!

  • 22

    Cheetah4eva wrote:

    Lions have Hendrik Roodt, who might prove to be a Bok challenger, Franco vd Merwe, oupa Wikus, Marius Coetzer (Pumas)and who else?

    Yep, a bunch of nobodies and retreaded flanks. Oh let’s not forget another “lightweight” flank who had a go in the second row. Michael Rhodes.

    Oh sh1t, that’s all of the locks (plus a couple of nobody’s just signed) that took the Lions through the Currie Cup to lift the trophy.

    Must all be varking useless then, ’cause “the Springboks weren’t involved”.

    Opinions, statistics, and BS.

  • 23

    @ Scrumdown:
    WTF. Seems I can’t use the “quote” button with any degree of success.

    Another example of my IT challeneged persona!!!!!


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