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Cheetahs

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Juan Smith

Juan Smith

The boyish smile on the face of Juan Hugo Smith masked the trauma that he endured in the past four years, when it seemed an Achilles injury ended his career.

At 33, with 69 Test caps for South Africa, he is one of the most seasoned players in the Springbok team to face Argentina in Salta on Saturday.

Captain Jean de Villiers, also 33 and 97 Tests, and recalled prop Gurthrö Steenkamp, 33 and 51 Tests, are among the few that can match him for experience in the team that will take to the field at Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena.

Smith is the epitome of a player who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to return to the international arena, after it seemed his career had come to an abrupt end.

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Cell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks team to take on Free State at Kings Park in their Round 3 Absa Currie Cup clash on Saturday shows some changes to the pack that featured against the Pumas last week.

According to Sharks website Editor, Michael Marnewick, the backline remains completely unchanged, but among the forwards, there have been some changes, both enforced and rotational.

JC Astle has not been passed fit which means Etienne Oosthuizen reverts back to lock, opening the door for Francois Kleinhans who starts on the flank.

Upfront, Matt Steven starts ahead of Lourens Adriaanse and Dale Chadwick plays at loosehead in place of Thomas du Toit.

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EP KingsIn a bid to add more grunt up front, the EP Kings coach Carlos Spencer has made four changes to the pack for Saturday’s Currie Cup match against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria.

“We have brought back players like Steven Sykes and Darron Nell to add some physicality up front – which is something we lacked against the Lions and really need against this Bulls outfit,” Spencer said on Wednesday.

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Cell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks had to revert to what they know, as the forwards rumbled them to victory in the second half of their opening home Absa Currie Cup game against the Steval Pumas, but the coaches appear to be taking the glass half full view to their start to the season.

According to reports, with the big battering rams that dictated a forward based approach during the Super Rugby season now either injured, with the Springboks or departed for Japan, the young Sharks coaches who have taken over for the domestic competition have spoken about the need to play to different strengths.

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Free State CheetahsThe Cheetahs have paid the price for a bruising win against the Griquas on Saturday with Luan de Bruin, Elgar Watts and Johannes “Boom” Prinsloo looking set to miss their clash against the Sharks.

The Free State Stadium turned into a minor battlefield on Saturday with medical teams having to stretcher players off on more than one occasion.

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Currie CupThis past weekend saw Round 2 of the ABSA Currie Cup of 2014.

As usual 4 games were played, with the Cell C Sharks beating Steal Pumas 34 / 17, DHL Western Province demolishing the Vodacom Blue Bulls by 41 / 17, Xerox Goldenlions hammering EP Kings by 60 / 19 and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs beating GWK Griquas 34 / 27.

 

WP demolish Blue Bulls

DHL Western Province scored three tries either side of halftime as they demolished the Vodacom Blue Bulls 41-17 (halftime 19-6) in a scintillating Absa Currie Cup encounter at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.

Province ran in six tries through Pat Cilliers, Michael Rhodes, Nizaam Carr, Juan de Jongh and a brace from Seabelo Senatla while replacement hooker Bongi Mbonambi nabbed one for the visitors.

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CheetahsIs there something brewing in the corridors of the Free State Rugby Union?

Remember that one of the reasons Adriaan Strauss gave for taking the offer at the Bulls was due to the fact that he and the board of the Free State Rugby could not come to an agreement regarding an independent audit.

According to Volksblad, the breakdown in negotiations is said to have surrounded a clause involving an independent investigation into Cheetahs rugby.

While Strauss had advocated that a fresh perspective was required to move the team forward, the move was refused by the Cheetahs.

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Derick Minnie

“Cheers vir eers!” Derick Minnie op pad vorentoe Saterdag teen die Bloubulle op Ellispark.

Niemand wil dit hard sê nie, maar almal weet dit: Suid-Afrikaanse rugby is in die #2%$.

Vir diegene wat onlangs uit ’n diep slaap uit ontwaak het, hier is die feite: Net een Suid-Afrikaanse span kon dit tot in ’n Super Rugby semi-finaal maak. En daar het hulle ook in die pomp geduik. Die ander klomp – die Bulle, Stormers, Leeus en Cheetahs het redelik swak gedoen.

Hoe kan ’n land soos Suid-Afrika, wat meer spelers as Nieu-Seeland en Australië saam het, so sleg uit die bus uit bliksem?

Om daardie vraag te beantwoord, moet ons teruggaan tot ons terugkeer tot internasionale rugby in 1992.

Dan sal ons sien dat ons intussen nooit pasaangeërs was nie. Nie met taktiek nie en nie met afrigting nie.

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Jimmy Stonehouse

Jimmy Stonehouse

Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse has praised his team’s intensity in their surprise 28-21 victory over the Free State Cheetahs at the Mbombela Stadium after a long time out of the Currie Cup Premier Division.

The Pumas were playing their first game in the top flight since 2011, but they out-scored the Cheetahs by three tries to two and were worthy winners on the opening weekend of Currie Cup action.

“It was our first game up in the Premier Division and the players were obviously a bit tense, but the intensity was brilliant and the guys refused to lay down,” Stonehouse said.

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Toyota Free State Cheetahs coaching staff

The brains trust of the Toyota Free State Cheetahs for the Currie Cup.

Coenie and Caylib Oosthuizen will play no part in the Free State Cheetahs’ Currie Cup match against the Pumas in Nelspruit on Saturday.

With Trevor Nyakane and Adriaan Strauss involved with the Springboks, and both Oosthuizens ruled out through injury, new coach Rory Duncan has been forced to field a new-look front row against the Pumas.

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Caylib Oosthuizen

Caylib Oosthuizen

Coenie Oosthuizen

Coenie Oosthuizen

Coenie and Caylib Oosthuizen will not be available for the Cheetahs’ first Currie Cup match against the Pumas on Saturday in Nelspruit.

More scrum worries come in the form of Johannes Roux, who injured his arm against the EP Kings in a a warm match last Friday – he sat out of training on Monday.

It is hoped that Roux will be fit to play on Saturday, with the Free Staters looking thin in the front row.

With both Oosthuizens out and Trevor Nyakane with the Springboks, coach Rory Duncan looks set to blood some youngsters.

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Henry Immelman from Grey College, in action against Affies.

Henry Immelman from Grey College, in action against Affies.

A schoolboy teenager is set to play in the 2014 Currie Cup – Henry Immelman, the Grey College fullback.

Thomas du Toit, who was at Paarl Boys’ High last year, has proved that a teenager can stand firm among the tough, gnarled men of the front row.

Frans Steyn was 19 when he was chosen for the Sharks and then for South Africa. That was 2007, the year he turned 20. Johan Goosen was 18 when first he played for the Cheetahs in 2011, the year he turned 19.

Now Henry Immelman has been chosen in the Free State squad to play in the Currie Cup. He turned 19 in May. Unlike Steyn and Goosen he is still at school – in matric at Grey College, the school that Steyn and Goosen attended. Like the other two he played for Free State at Craven Week. Goosen made SA schools; Steyn and Immelman did not. Steyn and Goosen were born east of Bloemfontein – in Aliwal North and Burgersdorp. Immelman was born, on 26 May 1995, in Upington.

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Adriaan Strauss

Adriaan Strauss

Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss has broken his silence, saying he is excited at the prospect of moving to the Bulls at the end of the season.

The Bulls officially announced the move on Monday, but Strauss revealed exclusively to the supersport.com website that his decision was taken to further his career.

Strauss signed a two-year contract to move to the Bulls, following fellow Cheetahs players Trevor Nyakane and Lappies Labuschagné who will also line up for the Pretoria franchise in next year’s Super Rugby competition.

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Adriaan Strauss

Adriaan Strauss who earlier this week was seen wearing a Cheetah jersey at the unveiling of the new look kit.

In a somewhat confusing week for Adriaan Strauss fans, the big question is, did he or didn’t he? Conflicting reports indicate that he signed for the Bulls, and others that he will be remaining at the Cheetahs.

Earlier this week, at the unveiling of the new Blue Bulls and Free State Cheetahs jerseys for the 2014 Currie Cup, Strauss was the poster boy for the Cheetahs.

What I find strange though, is a specific question asked to him during a Q & A session. Have a look at question No. 8 posed to him and decide whether that was already a dead giveaway.

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Rossouw de KlerkGlasgow Warriors have signed South African prop Rossouw de Klerk from the Cheetahs, subject to a visa and medical.

The 24-year-old has put pen to paper on a two-year deal at Scotstoun and will join up with Gregor Townsend’s squad for pre-season training at the end of the month.

The 1.85m tighthead began his senior career in Pretoria, making his debut for the Blue Bulls in 2009. He went on to make 41 appearances for them, 14 of which were in Super Rugby.

In 2013 de Klerk joined the Cheetahs and has made 14 appearances in the Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup and has played seven times in Super Rugby this season.

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Free State CheetahsFree State Cheetahs new KitPUMA, the official technical and apparel sponsor of the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, has unveiled a new heritage-inspired Currie Cup rugby kit in the customary white and russet orange.

“As always the Toyota Free State Cheetahs are looking forward to the Currie Cup competition and this year even more so with our new Currie Cup jersey design from our partner PUMA,” said Kobus le Roux, the Marketing & Sales Executive at the Free State Cheetahs. “PUMA has yet again been able to design a new fresh look for the Toyota Free State Cheetahs without changing our unique traditions. Proudly white and orange! Proudly Cheetahs! Proudly PUMA.”

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Vincent Jobo

Vincent “The Animal” Jobo

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs have picked up promising former Western Province Under 21 and UCT loose forward, Vincent Jobo, for their Absa Currie Cup campaign and a good showing may even lead to a Vodacom Super Rugby stint for the player nicknamed “The Animal.”

Jobo had an impressive Varsity Cup last year and is one of the rising stars of Cape Rugby. The decision to move to Bloemfontein for the Currie Cup is an excellent one for him as the former King Edward VII schoolboy has fought his way through the ranks and is now being rewarded for his form.

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Torsten van Jaarsveld

Torsten van Jaarsveld has been named as captain of the Free State Cheetahs for the Currie Cup

Torsten van Jaarsveld has been named Free State Cheetahs captain for the upcoming Currie Cup season, the union announced via a press statement on Monday.

The 27-year-old, who can play flank and hooker, will replace Boom Prinsloo who captained the team during last year’s Currie Cup.

With Super Rugby captain Adriaan Strauss expected to be on duty for the Springboks, the Cheetahs have decided to appoint a different captain for the Currie Cup.

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Coenie van Wyk

Coenie van Wyk

The Cheetahs have added another exciting backline player to their stocks after securing the services of Pumas fullback Coenie van Wyk.

The 26-year-old, who represented the Lions with aplomb in this year’s Super Rugby competition, will join the Cheetahs after this year’s Currie Cup.

Van Wyk will join the Cheetahs on a two-year deal.

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Joe Pietersen

Ex- Stormers & Biarritz utility back, Joe Pietersen

The Cheetahs have found a replacement for flyhalf Johan Goosen who will leave them to further his career in France.

According to reports, former Stormers back Joe Pietersen will play for the Cheetahs in next year’s Super Rugby competition.

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Willie Britz

Willie Britz

The Toyota Cheetahs continued to replenish their player cabinet as it has emerged that they are close to completing the signing of Lions ‘wildman’, Willie Britz for the coming season.

This comes after the Bloemfontein side confirmed the signings of three other Lions players – prop Bees Roux, flyhalf Willie du Plessis and utility back Coenie van Wyk for the coming season.

The Cheetahs have also signed Montpellier midfielder JP du Plessis and have an agreement for SA Under 20 winger Sergeal Peterson to represent them at Super Rugby level this year.

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JP du Plessis

JP du Plessis

CheetahsThe Toyota Cheetahs have made another signing, luring former Melbourne Rebels and Stormers midfielder JP du Plessis back to South Africa from Montpellier.

Du Plessis, one of the most promising midfielders to emerge from Paul Roos, had a stint in rugby league with the Sydney Roosters after school before returning to Rugby Union with the Melbourne Rebels.

He made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut against the Hurricanes in the same year but returned to South Africa in 2012 and signed with the DHL Stormers.

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Heinrich Brüssow

Heinrich Brüssow

Any hopes of a dramatic return for Heinrich Brüssow have been squashed, meaning the Cheetahs will retain their winning formula for the last match of the season.

The men from Bloemfontein head to Johannesburg on Saturday to take on the resurgent Lions – a team looking to end their season with a three-match winning streak.

However, the Cheetahs will be without star the Springbok flank, Brüssow, who also missed last weekend’s 27-20 win over the Sharks due a groin injury.

“Heins will undergo groin surgery and will not play,” Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské said, ahead of his team’s trip to Ellis Park.

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Sergeal Petersen

Sergeal Petersen

The Eastern Province Kings say there is no loan agreement for wing Sergeal Petersen to represent the Cheetahs in Super Rugby next year.

It was reported on Monday that the Baby Bok flyer has signed a deal to play Super Rugby with the Cheetahs before returning to play Currie Cup for the Kings.

However, EP Rugby CEO Charl Crous denied this move via a media statement on Tuesday.

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Special EditionSuper RugbyThe Cell C Sharks will be the only South African team contesting the Vodacom Super Rugby playoffs this year after the Vodacom Bulls slipped up in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon, shortly before the KwaZulu-Natalians’ title hopes were dealt a blow in Bloemfontein.

The team from Durban dropped one position to third on the overall standings after their shock defeat by 27-20 to the Toyota Cheetahs at the Free State Stadium. It was arguably the team from Bloemfontein’s best performance of the season as they moved up from the last spot on the log to 14th.

Earlier on Saturday afternoon, the DHL Stormers recorded the fourth-ever clean sheet in a local derby when they beat the Vodacom Bulls by 16-0 at DHL Newlands. Just before the June-break, the Capetonians did the same when they beat the Toyota Cheetahs by 33-0 in Cape Town.

It will be only the third time in the last 10 years that the Vodacom Bulls will not feature in the playoffs.

The other two times a South African side failed to score any points in local derbies, were in 1999 when the Cell C Sharks beat the Vodacom Bulls by 29-0, while the team from Pretoria beat the Southern Kings by 34-0 last year.

In total, it was the sixth time ever a South African team were kept point-less in Vodacom Super Rugby and the Vodacom Bulls’ third zero. The Pretorians lost 27-0 to the Crusaders in Timaru in 2011 and the DHL Stormers lost 22-0 to the Crusaders in Cape Town in 2008.

On Friday evening, the Lions recorded their sixth win of the season when they beat the Rebels by 34-17 at Ellis Park, meaning 2014 will go down as the most successful for the team based in Johannesburg since the Cats franchise was dissolved before the 2006-season. Their previous best was five wins in 2007.

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Adriaan Strauss

Adriaan Strauss

Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss lauded his team’s efforts in their 27-20 victory over the Sharks in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

“Everyone, including the guys coming off the bench, had a good game,” said Strauss after the match.

“They really put up their hands and played for one another.

“A lot of the guys leave at the end of the season and we wanted to give them a good farewell at our home ground.

“I think we achieved that. Next we face the Lions away and we will be looking for another good performance to round things off.”

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CheetahsConsidering the amount of Toyota Cheetahs that are leaving for greener pastures, Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Cell C Sharks may be the last time that their fans may see them in their orange and white strip before joining new teams.

And since it is their last home Super Rugby game of the season, coach Naka Drotske has included all his stars for the clash to try and score a win against in the local derby.

No less than eight Springboks are back in action for the team after spending the last month with the Springboks and Trevor Nyakane, captain Adriaan Strauss, prop Coenie Oosthuizen, lock Lood de Jager, utility forward Teboho Mohoke, flyhalf Johan Goosen, wing Cornal Hendricks and fullback Willie le Roux all return to the side for the clash.

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Cell C SharksBullsStormersLionsCheetahsThe South African Conference resumes this weekend in Round 18, after watching the Australian and New Zealand franchises in action which ensured that there is likely to be only one team from the Republic in the finals.

The Sharks, long guaranteed the South African Conference, will finish in the top three while two more victories will ensure that Jake White’s team finish in the top two position and lock up a home Semi Final.

The Bulls still have an outside chance of reaching the Finals Series, but their hopes were dealt a blow with a 32-21 loss to the Lions before the June break.

The Stormers have become one of the premier spoilers in Super Rugby so far, while the Lions and Cheetahs have likely already begun planning for the Currie Cup and 2015 season.

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Heinrich Brussow

Heinrich Brussow

CheetahsThe Cheetahs will not able to call on the services of Heinrich Brüssow for their Super Rugby clash against the Sharks in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Coach Naka Drotské said that the loose forward is still struggling with a groin injury and won’t be risked for the game.

Philip van der Walt (hand) and Jean Cook (shoulder) are ready for action again, while Oupa Mohoje has also returned from the Springboks.

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