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Franco Smith

Willie le Roux

Willie le Roux

Springbok fullback Willie Le Roux has been included in the Cheetahs matchday 23 to face the Waratahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Le Roux was a standout omission from new coach Franco Smith’s team announced earlier in the week but has now been included by taking the place of outgoing utility back Joe Pietersen on the bench.

This is the 2nd late change from the initial team after Varsity Cup star Gerhard Olivier was brought in for a potential debut off the bench as he replaces Willie Britz.

Smith decided to add a further 3 Varsity Cup players – 2 of which in the starting 15 – to the matchday team as he looks to rebuild the struggling franchise following a lacklustre 2015 campaign.

No 8 Niell Jordaan and flyhalf Neil Marais will make their Super Rugby debuts in the Cheetahs final home game of the campaign with prop Elandré Hugget starting the match on the bench.

In the forwards, Burrie Uys moves off the bench in a swap with Danie Mienie, while Tinie Burger and Johannes Prinsloo switch positions at the side of the scrum. Jordaan replaces Henco Venter at No 8 as the latter takes his place among the replacements.

Marais will be partnered with Sarel Pretorius as the halfback pairing while Springbok flyer Cornal Hendricks replaces the injured Raymond Rhule at left wing while Ryno Benjamin moves off the bench to take his place at inside centre, replacing Michael van der Spuy while Coenie van Wyk replaces Clayton Blommetjies, who misses the match altogether, at fullback.

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Niel Marais

Niel Marais

New Yoyota Cheetahs head coach, Franco Smith, has named his team to tackle the Waratahs in a Super Rugby clash in Bloemfontein on Saturday (15:00 SA Time).

It will be Smith’s 1st game in charge following the departure of Naka Drotske.

Smith has made several changes to the team that lost 42 / 12 to the DHL Stormers at Newlands last weekend.

In the backline, Niel Marais replaces Joe Pietersen at flyhalf. Marais was a star player for Shimlas in this year’s Varsity Cup, which they won under the coaching tutelage of Smith.

Sarel Pretorius is also back at scrumhalf, while Cornal Hendricks will start on the left wing, replacing Raymond Rhule who has a knee injury.

Rayno Benjamin also moves up from the bench, replacing Michael van der Spuy to start at inside centre this week, while Coenie van Wyk replaces Clayton Blommetjies at fullback.

Up front, BG Uys starts at loosehead prop, with Danie Mienie moving to the bench, while Tienie Burger and Boom Prinsloo swap places in the loose trio.

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Os du Randt

Os du Randt

Naka Drotske

Naka Drotske

The Toyota Cheetahs will bid an early farewell to long-standing coaches Naka Drotské and Os du Randt.

It was confirmed last week that Franco Smith would take over as head coach of the struggling Cheetahs franchise next season.

However, he will take over from Drotské in a couple of weeks.

Drotské and Du Randt were to have seen out the remainder of the season, but on Tuesday it was revealed they will depart early.

Du Randt, a 2-times World Cup winner as a player, accepted a “very exciting” opportunity to coach abroad.

He will also act as an ambassador for the Cheetahs.

In a statement on Tuesday the Cheetahs confirmed that Du Randt will depart the franchise during the 1st week of June.

The details of his new position will be revealed at a media briefing at the Free State Stadium, in Bloemfontein, on Saturday.

The Cheetahs host the Lions in what will be Du Randt’s final home game before his departure.

As a result of Du Rand’s early departure, Drotské has also requested an early release.

Both Du Rand and Drotské will be in charge for the last time when the Toyota Cheetahs face the DHL Stormers in Cape Town on 30 May.

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Naka Drotske

Naka Drotske

The Toyota Cheetahs todat announced that Naka Drotske has will step down as Toyota Cheetahs Super Rugby coach at the end of this Super Rugby Season in order to persue business interests.

In addition, scrum coach Os du Randt has indicated that he will also be leaving the Cheetahs to go overseas and to persue coaching career opportunities abroad after completing his stint in Super Rugby this year. The whereabouts of his overseas tenure has not been made known yet.

But that’s not all, folks, Hawies Fourie, the Toyota Cheetahs backline coach wil also return to GWK Griquas to take up the Head Coaching position at the end of Super Rugby.

Franco Smith, who was named the Toyota Free State Cheetahs Currie Cup coach for 2015 earlier this week, will take up the position as Super Rugby head coach at the Toyota Cheetahs in the place of Naka Drotske.

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Franco Smith

Franco Smith

Varsity Cup-winning coach Franco Smith has been appointed the head coach of the Toyota Free State Cheetahs for this year’s ABSA Currie Cup campaign.

While it was expected that Smith may also be given the reigns of the Toyota Cheetahs Super Rugby franchise, this wasn’t announced with current coach Naka Drotske still continuing in his contract until the end of October 2016.

In addition Rory Duncan, who coached the side alongside Smith in the Currie Cup last year, will from now on be the Director of Coaching and will handle all rugby matters for the franchise from now on.

“We want to make it clear that Naka Drotske, his coaching team and the current structures continue unabated in this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby competition. Any media reports concerning Drotske’s position is pure speculation and is not accurate. Drotske has a contract with the Toyota Free State Cheetahs that expires on 30 October 2016,” a statement from the union said.

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Varsity CupCoach Franco Smith has been forced to make changes to his Varsity Cup Dream Team which will tackle the Baby Boks in Stellenbosch next Tuesday evening.

UP-Tuks players Dan Kriel and Jaco Visagie are not available for selection and had to be replaced.

Kriel’s spot at inside centre has been taken by Johan Deysel who will now link up with his NWU-Pukke team-mate Rowayne Beukman in midfield.

Visagie was due to start as a replacement and experienced UFS-Shimlas hooker Elandre Hugget will now take his spot on the bench.

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pro12We are all well aware of the host of South African rugby players who are plying their trade outside of South Africa. For this article we venture into the land of make belief and choose a squad made up entirely of players with South African connections playing in the current season’s RaboDirect Pro12 competition.  – The ‘Raboboks’

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The RaboDirect Pro12 2012/13 season kicked off on Friday night with Welsh outfit Newport Gwent Dragons hosting tournament newcomers the Italian team Zebre. The Dragons slayed Zebre, outscoring the visitors by four tries to none.

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