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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!