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CheetahsAfter seven lean years, in which their highest finish was 10th, the Cheetahs finally made the 2013 Super Rugby play-offs. Now they are ready to raise the bar once more.

Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie is confident they have the squad to improve on last year’s sixth-place finish – when they were knocked out in the quarterfinal stage by the Brumbies.

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Fourie, speaking to this website ahead of their first pre-season match – a double-header against Shimlas and Griquas on Friday – said the Cheetahs finally started playing according to their potential last year.

“In past years we often threw games away, or lost by narrow margins,” Fourie said, adding: “We never came close to the top six in those years.

“Last year we made the play-offs. This year our goal is to win the conference.”

The Cheetahs backline mentor said the best chance of going all the way in the competition is to win your conference and secure home ground advantage in the play-offs.

“If, like last year, you finish sixth, the you travel abroad for a quarterfinal, perhaps return to South Africa for a semifinal and then back abroad for a possible Final,” he told this website.

“That limits your chance of winning.”

He said the Cheetahs feel they have a solid squad.

“We have, with the exception of two players, the same group.

“We also gained four or five quality players.

“We have some good depth allround and good quality players, so we feel we can have a really good season.”

The most high-profile players who departed are Springbok prop Lourens Adriaanse (who moved to the Sharks) and midfielder Robert Ebersohn (to Montpellier in France).

However, the arrival of Nick Schonert, another product of the Griquas prop factory, will add depth to a front row that already boasts Springboks Trevor Nyakane and Coenie Oosthuizen – while Rossouw de Klerk and Caylib Oosthuizen are also waiting in the wings.

The departure of Ebersohn has been offset by the arrival of Piet Lindeque (from the Sharks) and Francois Venter (from the Bulls).

Other noteworthy additions to the Cheetahs squad – which will be finalised later this month – include loose forward Jean Cook (from the Bulls) and Pumas scrumhalf Shaun Venter (who played Super Rugby for the Kings last year).

The Cheetahs’ first pre-season game is on Friday, January 17, when they play with one team against Shimlas and another team against Griquas – both matches in Bloemfontein.

Next week they head to Jeffreys Bay for a training camp.

On the Tuesday 21 January, one team will play against the NMMU Varsity team, and the other team will play the Eastern Province Kings on the Saturday 25 January.

On 1 February they play against the Pumas in an historic game in Parys, before they open their campaign against the newly promoted Lions in Bloemfontein on Saturday 15 February.

6 Responses to Super Rugby: Cheetahs want to raise the bar in 2014

  • 1

    Having closely looked at the Squad Contenders in the Cheetahs squad for 2014, they have actually managed to acquire / develop / contract depth in all positions.

    The position they might be lightest at is wing, and the open question is whether Willie le Roux will play wing or fullback for the Cheetahs in 2014. If it is fullback, it suits the Springboks, if it is wing it would alleviate some if not most of the problems in quality depth there.

    There is ONLY TWO positions left to be published in the Squad Contender articles, namely MIDFIELD and BACK THREE, and the MIDFIELD articles will gradually be published today and / or tonight.

  • 2

    Groep lyk goed net bekommerd oor soutie en scrummie, goeie ballas en diepte

  • 3

    Flokken predictive text stutte balans en diepte

  • 4

    ballas very appropriate in that context Tounge-Out

  • 5

    @ grootblousmile:
    Think the Cheetahs will be better served than last season as far as wings go. Options are Willlie, Rhule, Benjamin, Cornal Hendricks, and Norman Nelson.

    Riaan Smit has also played wing with some success at Super level, and Nico Scheepers played wing for the cheetahs CC side. With Daniller likely to play fullback, I think Willie will be considered as a wing. Danie Dames and Gouws Prinsloo are also FB options.

  • 6

    @ grootblousmile:
    I think Willie should only play Fullback. He is the Springbok Fullback and I feel it is unfair that he plays wing during the Super Rugby and then Fullback for the Boks.
    Daniller has had his day. He is arguably the weak link in the back three. He has positives like being solid under the high ball and a monster boot and he is good on defense. Yet I have never seen him join the backline during any attack.


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