The Cheetahs have announced their group of 35 players for this year’s Super Rugby tournament. It differs substantially from last year’s squad, with numerous players having pursued careers overseas. Considering that ten of last year’s squad’s names don’t appear, one could be forgiven for expecting a weaker squad but it looks like a good squad overall.
The 2013 Toyota Cheetahs Squad:
Props: Trevor Nyakane, Caylib Oosthuizen, Coenie Oosthuizen, Rossouw de Klerk and Lourens Adriaanse.
Hookers: Adriaan Strauss, Ryno Barnes and Hercu Liebenberg.
Locks: Lood de Jager, Andries Ferreira, Ligtoring Landman and Francois Uys.
Flanks: Juan Smith, Frans Viljoen, Heinrich Brüssow, Lappies Labuschagne, Boom Prinsloo, Phillip van der Walt and Davon Raubenheimer.
Scrumhalves: Piet van Zyl, Sarel Pretorius and Tewis de Bruyn.
Flyhalves: Johan Goosen. Elgar Watts and Francois Brummer
Centres: Robert Ebersohn, Johann Sadie and Barry Geel.
Wings: Rayno Benjamin, Rocco Jansen and Raymond Rhule.
Fullbacks: Hennie Daniller and Willie le Roux.
Utility Backs: Riaan Smit and Hansie Graaff.
The omission of Marnus Schoeman is a surprise, but given the quality of loose forwards in the final group, it’s hard to fault the Cheetahs selectors. Juan Smith, if fit, was always going to make the cut. Frans Viljoen’s aggression and abrasiveness makes him a certainty. The Cheetahs pack last year lacked that ingredient that both Juan and Frans bring. This could decidedly improve the effectiveness of the forgotten man of Bok rugby, a certain Heinrich Brüssow.
The hallmark of this squad is the versatility of many of the players. Amongst the forwards, Francois Uys is as comfortable at lock as at flank and the lineout prowess of Juan Smith at the back of the lineout adds an extra option.
Amongst the backs, Hansie Graaff, Francois Brummer, Riaan Smit, Willie le Roux and Tewis de Bruyn are all versatile players. The only concern is that only three specialist centres have been selected.
Players that have left are: Sias Ebersohn (Force), Ashley Johnson (London Wasps), Wilmaure Louw (Pumas), George Earle (Llanelli Scarlets), Izak van der Westhuizen (Edinburgh), WP Nel ((Edinburgh), Andries Strauss (Kings), Marcel van der Merwe (Bulls), and Phillip Snyman (Bok Sevens Squad).