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Toyota Cheetahs

Sias EbersohnWestern ForceA move back to the Cheetahs may not be the wisest move for Western Force flyhalf Sias Ebersohn.

Ebersohn is having a stellar season for this year’s Super Rugby surprise packages, and last weekend returned to haunt his former team-mates by kicking 13 points in a 23-16 win in Bloemfontein.

He held his own against opposite number Johan Goosen – ironically the player who kept him out of the Cheetahs team a couple of seasons ago – which eventually led to Ebersohn’s move abroad.

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Sias EbersohnWestern ForceFormer South African Schools flyhalf Sias Ebersohn left his country of birth under a cloud, seemingly unable to convert his potential into form at Super Rugby level.

However, the 25-year-old made a triumphant return to Bloemfontein at the weekend – producing a mature performance and played a key role in the Western Force’s 23-16 Super Rugby Round 13 win over his former team, the Cheetahs.

Force coach Michael Foley commended the No 10, who left Bloemfontein for Perth two years ago after being overlooked – with Springbok Johan Goosen the preferred choice.

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Special EditionStormersSharksLionsCheetahsBullsThis is the last article in the 3-part series where we run the rule over team performances so far and take a look at the chances of teams as we enter the final stretch of the regular season.

We conclude with the South African Conference, who are positioned as the bottom performing country overall, with 4 teams in the bottom 6 at present.

SUMMARY: While the Sharks fly the SA flag and have established the 1st major break at the top of the table, now 5 points clear, only the Bulls have any chance of joining Jake White’s team in the knockout stage of the season.

The Lions’ promising start has been tarnished, the Cheetahs record season last year is a distant memory, while the Stormers haven’t been so far down the table since 1996.

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coenie_oosthuizenJohan GoosenCheetahsCheetahs coach Naka Drotske has included two Springbok stalwarts in his run on side for their Super Rugby encounter against the Western Force in Bloemfontein on Saturday afternoon.

Flyhalf Johan Goosen and prop Coenie Oosthuizen are back in the starting line-up after making an impact from the bench against the Bulls in Pretoria last week.

Goosen, who has recovered from a concussion, replaces Elgar Watts, while Oosthuizen comes in for Maks van Dyk at tight head prop. Both Watts and Van Dyk find themselves among the replacements.

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Jean CookLigtoring LandmanCheetahsNet toe die Cheetahs se diepte begin beter lyk het, het die beseringspook weer in hul kamp toegeslaan.

Dié sentrale streekspan sal Saterdag hier in sy Superrugby-wedstryd teen die Western Force sonder die beseerde flank Jean Cook (skouer) én slot Ligtoring Landman (kuit) moet klaarkom.

Wat die terugslae erger maak, is dat dit in posisies is waar Naka Drotské, die Cheetahs se afrigter, se span reeds uitgedun is.

Boonop sukkel die vleuel Raymond Rhule (enkel) ook met ’n besering, maar kan hy volgens Drotské nog betyds herstel.

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Cheetahscoenie_oosthuizenJohan GoosenCheetahs coach Naka Drotské has included two Springboks on his replacement bench in an otherwise unchanged line up for his side’s Super Rugby encounter against the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.

Springbok flyhalf Johan Goosen and Bok prop Coenie Oosthuizen have both been cleared to play after recovering from injuries. Goosen was sidelined for a couple of weeks with concussion, while Oosthuizen has finally recovered from a lengthy neck injury he sustained during the Cheetahs’ overseas tour to Australasia.

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Super RugbyThe Toyota Cheetahs delivered their best performance of the Vodacom Super Rugby season when they won comfortably against the DHL Stormers in an exciting local derby, but the Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks were kept try-less as they ended up on the losing side in Round 11.

The team from Central South Africa and the Capetonians were involved in an thrilling derby where the most tries were scored this season. The Toyota Cheetahs won this encounter in Bloemfontein on Saturday afternoon by 35-22, outscoring the visitors by five tries to three.

It was the most tries scored against the DHL Stormers in a local derby since the Cell C Sharks and Vodacom Bulls put five and seven respectively past them in 2007.

Earlier on Saturday, the Vodacom Bulls had to battle the elements and Sias Ebersohn’s boot in Perth. The Force beat the visitors from Pretoria by 15-9 in a kick-fest where no tries were scored.

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Heinrich BrussowHeinrich Brüssow is not just hype, he is the ultimate openside flank.

The 27-year-old Cheetahs star, who played the last of his 20 Tests in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal, returned to Super Rugby for the Cheetahs against the Sharks last week after missing the first half of the season with a fractured toe – suffered while playing for his Japanese club.

And while the Cheetahs lost 8-19, the influence and value of Brüssow was there for all to see.

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Super RugbyIt was a disappointing weekend for South Africa’s Vodacom Super Rugby franchises, with the best result among the four teams that took to the field being a 43-43 draw by the Toyota Cheetahs.

The Vodacom Bulls faced the Hurricanes in Napier on Saturday in their first tour game with the hope of becoming the first domestic franchise to win in the Antipodes this season, but penalties conceded at crucial times allowed the hosts to come away with a 25-20 victory.

The Toyota Cheetahs, meanwhile, built up an encouraging 34-10 half-time lead against New Zealand conference leaders and defending champions, the Chiefs, in Bloemfontein, but they allowed the visitors to fight back strongly after the break and had to settle for a 43-43 draw.

At Ellis Park, the Lions produced a competitive first-half performance against the Crusaders to trail only 6-0 after 40 minutes, but the home side battled to shut out the seven time Vodacom Super Rugby champions in the second half, and went down 28-7.

In the last match of the weekend, the DHL Stormers’ woes continued in their first home game after their Australasian tour, as they suffered their fifth back-to-back defeat after going down 22-11 against the Waratahs in a physical encounter at DHL Newlands.

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Trevor NyakaneCheetahsTrevor Nyakane will start his first game of Super Rugby this weekend as the Cheetahs take on the Chiefs in Bloemfontein.

The Springbok prop, who can play either tighthead or loosehead, has warmed the bench for the Cheetahs in the competition so far but has been selected to start over other front rowers who have been struggling with injury niggles.

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