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Toyota Cheetahs

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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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Sarel Pretorius

Sarel Pretorius

Joe Pietersen

Joe Pietersen

The Toyota Cheetahs will be without 2 key players when they take on the Highlanders in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Star scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius and utility back Joe Pietersen have both been ruled out through injury.

The teams shows several changes from that beat the South African conference leaders, the DHL Stormers, a fortnight ago.

Tian Meyer will be starting at scrumhalf in the place of Pretorius, who hasn’t recovered from his shoulder injury. Shaun Venter comes onto the bench as scrumhalf cover.

Francois Brummer moves up from the bench, replacing Pietersen – who is also sidelined with a shoulder injury. Coenie van Wyk comes onto the bench to fill the void left by Brummer’s promotion.

The only other change to the starting fifteen will see Danie Mienie replacing Caylib Oosthuizen at loosehead prop. Oosthuizen drops out of the matchday 23.

Springbok wing Raymond Rhule also returns from injury and gets a spot on the bench.

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Willie Britz

Willie Britz

Toyota Cheetahs loose forward Willie Britz has confirmed that he will join the Shining Arcs in Japan after this year’s Super Rugby competition.

The good news for Cheetahs fans though is that Britz will only be unavailable during the Currie Cup, before returning to play Super Rugby next season.

He is contracted to the Cheetahs until the end of the 2016 season.

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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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Super RugbyThe Vodacom Bulls are back at the Top of the South African Conference, taking over from the DHL Stormers who came up short in Bloemfontein on an exhilarating Saturday of Vodacom Super Rugby.

The weekend started on a disappointing note for the Cell C Sharks in Dunedin though. After a solid start for the visitors, the Highlanders turned on the heat and eventually beat the Durbanites by 48 / 15 in their opening tour match Down Under.

Saturday saw 2 cracking local derbies, both won by the home teams.

1st Up, the Toyota Cheetahs caused a minor upset when they won their 3rd successive home game against the DHL Stormers in Bloemfontein, by 25 / 17.

The home team outscored the visitors by 3 tries to 2 and thoroughly deserved their 4th win of the season. It was also only the 3rd time in 14 matches that the DHL Stormers could not score any Log Points against the Toyota Cheetahs.

The final match of the weekend was a proper humdinger in Pretoria, where the Vodacom Bulls beat their neighbours, the Emirates Lions, by 35 / 33. A total of 7 tries were scored as both sides went hammer and tongs against each other for the full 80 minutes.

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Johann Sadie

Johann Sadie

Toyota Cheetahs head coach, Naka Drotske, has named his team to tackle the DHL Stormers in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Drotske has made several changes to his backline from the team that went down 34 / 29 to the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg last weekend.

Scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius is the only player who retains his spot, while Joe Pietersen moves back to flyhalf after wearing the No 15 jersey last weekend.

Clayton Blommetjies moves from the bench into the No 15 jersey, while there is also a new midfield partnership as Michael van der Spuy comes in at inside centre, with Francois Venter shifting to his outside.

Regular centre Johann Sadie is sidelined with a knee injury.

Sergeal Petersen will make his debut for the franchise on the left wing, with Rayno Benjamin moving to right wing, as Cornal Hendricks is rested in line with an agreement to rest top Springbok players.

Up front, Caylib Oosthuizen replaces Danie Minnie at loosehead prop, while Coenie Oosthuizen is bracketed with Maks van Dyk at tighthead.

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Joe Pietersen

Joe Pietersen

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has named his team to tackle the Lions in a Super Rugby clash in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Joe Pietersen has been moved from flyhalf to fullback, with Willie du Plessis given the No 10 jersey.

With both Willie le Roux and Coenie van Wyk out with ankle injuries, Drotske decided to move the versatile Pietersen to fullback.

The latest news is that Coenie Ooshuizen has also pulled out with a back injury and he has been replaced at tighthead prop by Maks van Dyk.

In other changes to the team that lost 18 / 17 at home to the Reds last weekend, Danie Minnie starts at loosehead prop, replacing BG Uys who is suffering from a back injury. Caylib Oosthuizen comes in on the bench as prop cover.

Tienie Burger replaces Heinrich Brüssow at flank after the latter broke his arm against the Reds. Carel Greeff will provide loose forward cover from the bench.

With Du Plessis promoted to the starting team, Clayton Blommetjies also comes in on the bench.

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Willie le Roux

Willie le Roux

The Cheetahs have been dealt another blow with the news that Willie le Roux could face an extended period on the sidelines.

The Springbok fullback is suffering from an ankle injury, and it is reported that he could be out for up to 5 weeks.

Le Roux didn’t feature against the Reds last weekend as he was being rested, so it’s unclear when he suffered the injury.

His absence would be a major blow for the Bloemfontein outfit, which has already lost Heinrich Brüssow for the season to a broken arm.

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Heinrich Brüssow

Heinrich Brüssow

The Toyota Cheetahs suffered a massive blow when flank Heinrich Brüssow suffered an arm injury in their defeat to the Reds in Bloemfontein at the weekend.

The openside flank left the field in the 14th minute of the match at the Free State Stadium, and coach Naka Drotske has since confirmed that the Springbok has broken his arm.

More clarity about the severity of the injury will be known on Monday, but Brüssow will in all likelihood sit out the rest of the competition.

Fullback Coenie van Wyk also suffered an ankle injury and according to reports, is likely to be ruled out for about 6 weeks.

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WP Nel

WP Nel

At the end of a trying season of provincial rugby under the sweltering South African sun, Willem Petrus Nel trudged exhausted from the field.

He turned to his coach and mentor, Pierre Ribbens, a distinguished ex-prop for the Bulls in what is now the Super 15 competition, the cream of the Southern Hemisphere game.

“I think I’m done with rugby – I don’t want to play anymore,” he said.

In late 2008, the 22-year-old tight-head had completed his agricultural studies, his certificate signed and stamped. From university some 250 miles to the south, the pull of home, the sheep farm he had been raised tending and the rolling mountains of the Northern Cape was strong.

“Give me a week,” replied Ribbens.

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Reniel Hugo

Reniel Hugo

The Toyota Free State Cheetahs and Toyota Cheetahs have secured the services of FNB UP-Tuks lock, Reniel Hugo.

The 24-year-old lock has signed a deal which will keep him in Bloemfontein until the end of the 2016 season.

Hugo represented Tuks for the past 2 years after joining from Maties.

He was earlier this week also named as captain of the Varsity Cup Dream Team to play against the Junior Springboks in Stellenbosch, next week Tuesday.

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Willie le Roux

Willie le Roux

Springbok fullback Willie le Roux will sit out the Toyota Cheetahs clash with the Reds this weekend due to the rest agreement with SA Rugby.

Le Roux will be replaced by Coenie van Wyk in the starting line-up as the only change to the team that beat the Western Force last Saturday in Perth.

This will mark the 9th Super Rugby encounter between the Cheetahs and the Reds, since their 1st match in March 2006.

The Reds are leading the way with 5 wins to 3.

It will also be the 5th time the teams meet at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, since the 1st encounter.

The Cheetahs has won 3 previous matches in Bloemfontein to the Reds 1.

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Super RugbyThe Vodacom Bulls held onto their leadership of a ferociously contested South African Conference on a weekend of success at the expense of Australian teams.

The Vodacom Bulls maintained their 2-point advantage over the DHL Stormers on the Log – as both recorded bonus point victories over the Reds (43 / 22) and Waratahs (32 / 18) respectively – while the Toyota Cheetahs showed enormous character to finish their tour on a high in Perth, with a win over the Western Force (24 / 15).

In the South African derby at Emirates Airlines Park, the Emirates Lions underlined the seriousness of their challenge for the Conference title with 2-point victory (23 / 21) over a significantly improved Cell C Sharks, who missed a long-range last-kick penalty, which could have snatched the victory.

The upshot of the weekend was that the Top 4 SA teams are separated by just 4 Log Points – in contrast to their fellow conferences where the Hurricanes top the standings as New Zealand’s Top 4 are spread by 11 points, while an even more clear-cut Australian race sees the Brumbies head a Log in which 17 points cover the Top 4 Australian contenders.

3 Of SA’s winners had to overcome halftime deficits to record victories, with the most notable being those of the DHL Stormers and Toyota Cheetahs who achieved it on Australian soil.

However, the margins were small – both trailed by 2 points – while the Emirates Lions turned round 3 points adrift of the Cell C Sharks, as all 3 teams showed fitness and character to ‘win’ the 2nd half.

In the other match, the Vodacom Bulls’ recent home success over the Reds continued, as they stomped to a 6-try victory, with Francois Hougaard scoring 2 tries from the wing to take his tally to 4 for the season and therefore joining Marcell Coetzee as the leading South African try scorers.

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Super RugbyWith only 2 points separating 4 of the South African franchises on the Vodacom Super Rugby log after 8 weeks of play, Round 9 of the competition will again be crucial for local teams, with the derby in Johannesburg between the Emirates Lions and Cell C Sharks set to attract huge interest from spectators.

The remaining 3 South African sides play Australian opponents on Saturday, with the DHL Stormers taking on the Waratahs in Sydney, the Toyota Cheetahs playing the Western Force in Perth and the Vodacom Bulls closing out a big weekend of rugby in their Pretoria clash against the Reds.

The DHL Stormers will be looking for a 1st tour win against the defending champion Waratahs, knowing that the home side has won 12 of their last 13 matches in Sydney, with a victory margin of 18 points per match.

The Toyota Cheetahs will still be chasing a 1st overseas win in 2015, when they close out their tour against the Western Force at the NIB Stadium in Perth. The Cheetahs have won at this venue in the past, but will have to defend like never before.

They average the most missed tackles in the competition, while the home side maintains the best tackling success rate (90%).

The Emirates Lions host the Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park in the only South African derby of the weekend, which is expected to be a fiercely contested clash. The home team is well aware that a win could push them into 1st place in the South African conference, albeit that the Vodacom Bulls could again overhaul them later in the evening.

The Cell C Sharks will be desperate to put their recent misfortunes behind them and win away from home.

The Vodacom Bulls take on the Reds, who despite not having the greatest of seasons, have a good record against the Loftus Versfeld team, winning 10 of their 16 encounters. Continue reading

Sarel Pretorius

Sarel Pretorius

The Toyota Cheetahs have named live-wire scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius in the starting 15 for their match against the Western Force in Perth on Saturday.

There are only 2 changes to the Cheetahs team, namely up front where BG Uys starts and Danie Mienie moving to the bench and at the back with Sarel Pretorius back in the starting line-up and Tian Meyer on the bench.

This will mark the 9th Super Rugby encounter between the 2 teams.

The Western Force is leading with 5 wins to the 3 wins of the Cheetahs.

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CheetahsToyota Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské has named his team to take on Australian conference leaders the Brumbies in the Super Rugby clash in the Canberra on Saturday.

Drotské has made no less than 8 changes to the starting line-up, as well as positional shifts to his loose forward trio.

Fullback Willie le Roux, centres Johann Sadie and Francois Venter, scrumhalf Tian Meyer, lock Carl Wegner, hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld, and props Coenie Oosthuizen and Danie Minnie are all new faces in the starting team from the one which lost 37 / 27 to the Chiefs in Hamilton last weekend.

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Carel Greeff

Carel Greeff

The Toyota Cheetahs have called up loose forward Carel Greeff as they prepare for their Super Rugby tour match against the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday.

Greeff, who played for Griquas in the Vodacom Cup at the weekend, will replace Jean Cook.

Cook injured his groin in the warm-up prior to last weekend’s 37 / 27 loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton.

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Jean Cook

Jean Cook

The Toyota Cheetahs received another injury setback as they look for some redemption on their Vodacom Super Rugby tour of Australasia, with flanker Jean Cook heading home as another casualty of the tough 2 weeks in New Zealand.

The Cheetahs face the Brumbies on Saturday in their 3rd tour game – traditionally the toughest week on tour – and will need to choose a new loose trio again if they are to make any headway and return home with some points.

Cook has a groin injury and has already left for home. He will see a specialist back in Bloemfontein to ascertain the extent of the injury.

But he is the 2nd loose forward in as many weeks to suffer the same injury, after Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje returned home and is out for up to 12 weeks with a similar injury. Mohoje underwent an operation last week to put him back on the road to recovery.

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Super RugbyThe Vodacom Bulls delivered their top performance of the season as the Emirates Lions recorded their best Vodacom Super Rugby tour yet during an exciting weekend of Southern Hemisphere rugby.

The match in Pretoria was the undoubted highlight of the weekend from a quality point of view, with the Vodacom Bulls extending their winning run at home over the Crusaders after winning 31 / 19.

For sheer audacity, the Emirates Lions deserve a lot of plaudits for beating the Reds by 18 / 17 in Brisbane on Friday morning and thus ending their tour on 3 wins from 4 – their best Australasian return yet.

The Cell C Sharks meanwhile moved to the Top of the South African Conference and into the Top 3 on the log with a hard-fought 15 / 9 win over the Force in Durban on Saturday afternoon, scoring all their points in the 2nd half.

The Toyota Cheetahs and DHL Stormers found the going tough in New Zealand though as both went down – the side from Central South Africa by 37 / 27 to the Chiefs in Hamilton and the Capetonians by 39 / 21 to the Highlanders in Dunedin.

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Willie le Roux

Willie le Roux

Coenie Oosthuizen

Coenie Oosthuizen

A number of changes have been made to the Toyota Cheetahs team to play the Chiefs in a Super Rugby match in Hamilton on Saturday.

There are no less than 6 changes to the starting line-up, including a rest for Springbok duo Coenie Oosthuizen and Willie Le Roux.

Springbok flank Teboho Mohoje is already on his way back home, suffering an injury to his groin in last week’s tough encounter against the Crusaders. Mohoje is expected to be sidelined for 8 / 12 weeks, and Tienie Burger will be flying to Hamilton as cover for the Cheetahs, with Johannes ‘Boom’ Prinsloo slotting into the starting line-up.

As per agreement with SA Rugby, Willie le Roux and Coenie Oosthuizen are being rested. Nicholas ‘Maks’ van Dyk moves into the front row to replace the Springbok tighthead, with Clayton Blommetjies shifting to fullback to allow the return of Cornal Hendricks on the right wing.

Centre Francois Venter sits this one out, and Michael van der Spuy comes off the bench to play in the midfield.

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Teboho Mohoje

Teboho Mohoje

The Toyota Cheetahs were given a massive setback Wednesday when their worst fears about the injury to Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje filtered through.

Mohoje tore his groin muscle in the big loss in Christchurch against the Crusaders on Saturday and will need surgery as soon as possible.

The big Springbok flanker has already left the side en route back to Bloemfontein to see a specialist and prepare for the surgery, but the initial diagnosis is that he will be out for at least 8 to 12 weeks.

The Cheetahs have called up Shimlas flanker Tienie Burger to join the side but it is clear Mohoje’s injury has hit them hard.

The Bok is unlikely to play again in this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby competition, although depending on his rehabilitation there is a slight chance he could return to the field for the last 2 games of their campaign… all of which creates another headache for Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

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CrusadersTodd Blackadder has named his side to take on the Cheetahs this Saturday, making 4 changes to the starting line-up that beat the Lions last weekend.

In the forwards, hookers Codie Taylor and Ben Funnell will rotate so that Taylor starts at No 2.

Matt Todd, named captain for the season, returns to the team to play at No 7 this week – replacing All Black captain Richie McCaw.

However, Kieran Read retains the captaincy for this match.

In the backline, Israel Dagg returns from injury to take the fullback spot, while Kieron Fonotia moves onto the wing following Johnny McNicholl’s knee (posterior cruciate ligament) injury last week.

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Heinrich Brüssow

Heinrich Brüssow

Toyota Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has named his team to tackle the Crusaders in their Super Rugby clash in Christchurch on Saturday (kick-off 08:35 SA Time).

Heinrich Brussow will start at flank after impressing off the bench against the Sharks last weekend,.

Brussow is 1 of 4 newcomers to the starting team named on Wendesday.

The others are scrumhalf Tian Meyer, flyhalf Joe Pietersen and wing Clayton Blommetjies.

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CheetahsCell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks picked up their second victory of the Super Rugby campaign as they saw off the Toyota Cheetahs 27 / 10 in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

An improved performance was always on the cards following the defeat the men from Durban suffered against Stormers in their previous outing and the revival particularly at scrum-time will be encouraging for both the Super Rugby team and the Springbok coaching set-up.

The experience Tendai Mtawarira and brothers Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis brought to the game was crucial on the day, but the real winner for the Sharks was their defence against a Cheetahs outfit that was predictably full of running.

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