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Toyota Cheetahs

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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Vodacom Bulls vs Toyota Cheetahs

The Vodacom Bulls’ recent revival continued as they secured a 39 / 20 victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday… moving them to 2nd in the SA Conference.

Handré Pollard was the visitors’ hero as he contributed 29 points via a try, 5 penalties, 3 conversions and a drop-goal. After last weekend’s morale-boosting win over the Sharks, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke will be delighted with the way his side dominated this game for large periods.

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Johannes 'Boom' Prinsloo

Johannes ‘Boom’ Prinsloo

The Cheetahs have made 1 change to the team that beat the Blues last weekend with Springbok Sevens star Johannes Prinsloo starting on the flank against the Bulls.

Prinsloo, who has made a big impact coming off the bench in the Cheetahs’ 2 games against the Sharks and Blues thus far, gets his shot due to an injury to No 8 Willie Britz.

Coach Naka Drotske has moved Jean Cook into the vancant No 8 position and put Prinsloo onto the side of the scrum.

The only other change comes on the bench where former Sharks and Southern Kings lock Steven Sykes enters the matchday-23.

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Super RugbyThe Toyota Cheetahs, Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers were victorious in 3 terrific Vodacom Super Rugby matches, as the competition really took off in the 3rd Round.

On Friday evening, the Toyota Cheetahs sneaked home against the Blues in Bloemfontein, winning their 2nd match of the season by 25 / 24 to remain 1 of only 4 unbeaten teams in 2015.

Saturday saw 2 local derbies of the highest calibre, with Test-like intensity. Mirrroing the encounter in Bloemfontein, the results of both these matches were in the balance right until the end.

The Vodacom Bulls prodcued their maiden win of the season when they beat the Cell C Sharks by 43 / 35 in a superb match in Pretoria. Then the DHL Stormers clocked their 3rd win from 3 matches when they beat the Emirates Lions by 22 / 19 in Johannesburg.

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Os du Randt

Os du Randt

Japanese club Toyota Verblitz is believed to be after the services Cheetahs forwards coach Os du Randt.

According to reports, there’s already been informal talks between the club and Du Randt but no contract has been discussed.

New Zealander Filo Tiatia coached Toyota Verblitz this past season, while Springbok and Sharks flank Jean Deysel also plays for them.

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Naka Drotske

Naka Drotske

The Cheetahs’ team doctor has a special plan to help the team overcome jet lag on their upcoming Australasian Super Rugby tour.

The men from Bloemfontein start their tour with a clash against the Crusaders in Christchurch on 21 March, before facing the Chiefs (Hamilton 28 March), Brumbies (Canberra 4 April) and Force (11 April).

Dr Louis Holtzhausen said the fact that the Cheetahs’ first game is in Christchurch makes things extra difficult.

“It’s the furthest that you can travel and the most difficult away game to start with,” he said.

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Lodewyk De Jager

Lodewyk de Jager

Cheetahs lock Lood de Jager will be sidelined for at least 3 months after undergoing an operation to repair injured elbow ligaments.

De Jager left the field in the 1st half of the Cheetahs’ 35 / 29 Super Rugby win against the Sharks at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban last Saturday.

It was feared that he had broken his elbow, but X-rays revealed only ligament damage.

But the Springbok was still forced to go under the knife on Tuesday.

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Lodewyk De Jager

Lodewyk de Jager

The Toyota Cheetahs were dealt a big blow when it was learnt that Springbok lock Lood de Jager will be out of action for between 6 and 8 weeks with an elbow injury.

De Jager was forced off the field in the Cheetahs win over the Cell C Sharks early on in Durban on Saturday and while the good news is that there isn’t a bone fracture, the injury will mean he will miss close to 2 months of Vodacom Super Rugby action.

The injury has been tempered by the fact the Cheetahs have a bye this week, with all players being given most of the week off until they reassemble on Thursday to start preparing for next weekend’s game against the Blues in Bloemfontein.

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Tendai 'Beast Mtawarira

Tendai ‘Beast Mtawarira

Lodewyk De Jager

Lodewyk de Jager

Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

We are just 1 week into the Super Rugby season and there is already a lengthy list of Springboks sidelined by injury.

With captain Jean de Villiers a non-starter thanks to a knee injury which has put a question mark over his availability for the World Cup, he has been joined by Eben Etzebeth, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira, Lodewyk de Jager amd Julian Redelinghuys.

Etzebeth hurt his chest in a warm-up game against the Cheetahs at Newlands, and is only expected back in the 3rd round – the 3rd consecutive year he has missed the start of the competition.

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Joe Pietersen

Joe Pietersen

The Toyota Cheetahs have named former Stormers fullback Joe Pietersen at flyhalf for their Super Rugby Round 1 clash with the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

Pietersen is an unknown entity at flyhalf having spent most of his time running from the back for the Stormers and for French club Biarritz, where he made 17 appearances.

In the front row, Springbok Coenie Oosthuizen packs down at tighthead alongside Currie Cup captain and Namibian international Torsten van Jaarsveld.

Former Sharks prop Danie Minnie solidifies the front line of the scrum.

At lock there is room for another Springbok in Lodewyk de Jager who pairs up with new captain Francois Uys.

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Steven Sykes

Steven Sykes

Former Sharks lock Steven Sykes has joined the Cheetahs squad as they prepare for the Super Rugby competition.

According to reports, it remains unsure if Sykes has signed a contract with the Cheetahs or just training in Bloemfontein on a trial period.

Sykes will compete for a spot in the Cheetahs’ Super Rugby team with the likes of Lood de Jager, Francois Uys, Carl Wegner and Armandt Koster.

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Francois Uys

Francois Uys

The Cheetahs, in a surprise move, named Francois Uys as their captain for the Super Rugby season.

Uys will be leading the team, joined by the vice-captain Sarel Pretorius.

The ‘well-informed’ media in Bloemfontein have been speculating for weeks that Japan-based Springbok Heinrich Brüssow would get the leadership armband.

However, coach Naka Drotské decided to go with Uys – starting from Saturday, when they take on the South African conference champions, the Cell C Sharks, in Durban.

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CheetahsThe Cheetahs ran in 10 tries to the Griffons 1 in what can only be described as a practice match as the men from Bloemfontein tweaked their final preparations.

What this match did allow was for Naka Drotske and his staff to get a clearer picture of the Cheetahs best centre pairing with Francois Venter, Michael van der Spuy and Johann Sadie looking sharp – however, JW Jonker not in action.

Venter looked especially good and was on song against the Griffons as he slipped between inside and outside centre with ease.

A Shoulder injury kept him out of most of the 2014 Super Rugby season but this could be the year for him to step up.

Hawies Fourie, the Cheetahs’ backline coach, has a pleasant problem of who will begin in the centres in next weekend’s Sharks game.

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Naka Drotské

Naka Drotské

Toyota Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské has named a powerful team, including all his available Springboks, to face the Griffons in their final Super Rugby pre-season outing on Wednesday.

Fullback Willie le Roux tops the list of Bok stars that will run out at the Old Greys club in Bloemfontein.

Le Roux has overcome an ankle strain he suffered in last Friday’s loss to the Stormers.

Other Boks having a run include wings Cornal Hendricks and Raymond Rhule, flank Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje, lock Lodewyk ‘Lood’ de Jager and prop Coenie Oosthuizen.

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Heinrich Brussow

Heinrich Brussow

The Cheetahs will this week welcome back flank Heinrich Brüssow and centre Johann Sadie from Japan.

The duo play for the Docomo Red Hurricanes and their return to Bloemfontein was dependent on how far the Hurricanes would go in the knockout rounds in Japan.

The Hurricanes this past weekend lost in the semi-finals of the wildcard tournament, which is contested between the sides finishing fifth to 12th in the Japanese league.

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CheetahsCheetahs coach Naka Drotske admits that the lack of tight five depth is a concern headng into the Super Rugby season.

The Bloemfontein side have lost the services of Springbok front row forwards Adriaan Strauss and Trevor Nyakane who have both moved to the Bulls, which has left them looking decidedly thin on options up front.

Drotske gave some of the fringe players a chance to make a case for selection against the Stormers at Newlands on Friday, but they battled to assert themselves on the Stormers pack until Springboks Coenie Oosthuizen and Lodewyk de Jager took to the pitch in the second half.

The Cheetahs coach said that whilst he is happy with the depth in the backline and loose forwards, the lack of quality tight five options remains a concern.

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Sarel Pretorius

Sarel Pretorius

Cheetahs scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius will join Welsh side Newport Gwent Dragons after this year’s Super Rugby competition.

The Dragons announced the news via their official website on Friday, saying the 30-year-old has signed a long-term deal.

Speaking after putting pen to paper, Pretorius commented: “I am delighted to have signed for the Dragons.

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Willie Britz

Willie Britz

Willie Britz will lead the Cheetah when they tackle the Stormers in a Super Rugby pre-season outing at Newlands on Friday (today).

Britz, recruited from the Lions in the off-season, takes over from Francois Uys – who was captain in the 13 / 30 loss to the Bulls last week – as the Cheetahs continue to rotate team leaders during the build-up to their season opener against the Sharks on 14 February.

The permanent Cheetahs captain for the 2015 Super Rugby competition will only be announced early February.

It is expected that Heinrich Brüssow will get the job once he returns from his Japanese club commitments.

The team that travels to Newlands shows 13 changes from that which lost to the Bulls in Polokwane.

Only loose forwards Britz and Jean Cook retained their places in the starting 15.

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DHL StormersDHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has announced a powerful line-up for Friday night’s friendly clash against the Cheetahs at DHL Newlands (Kick-Off 19:00 SA Time).

As expected, Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth will start in his first match of 2015, his first appearance in a DHL Stormers jersey since 2013, whilst talented youngster Huw Jones gets a run at inside centre – his first start for the DHL Stormers – after Damian de Allende was ruled out with a slight quadriceps tear.

“It’s a slight tear, so we could’ve pushed Damian if, say, we were playing in a final,” said Coetzee on the www.iamastormer.com website. “It’s not serious, but we didn’t want to risk him at this stage of our pre-season preparations.”

Demetri Catrakilis, after missing last weekend’s trip to George with a stomach ailment, will start at flyhalf, whilst ABSA Currie Cup-winning lock Jean Kleyn has been named amongst the replacements after recovering from a knee (meniscus) injury which delayed his start to his team’s pre-season programme.

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Duncan Matthews

Duncan Matthews

The Bulls overcame a slow start to finish strongly and post a 30-13 triumph over the Cheetahs in a Super Rugby pre-season friendly at Polokwane.

Scrumhalf Piet van Zyl bagged a second half double as the men from Pretoria ran away with the match which was separated by just 3 points midway through the second half.

Duncan Matthews also found the line thanks to a well-timed intercept while Jesse Kriel dictated the game from fullback, looking very much at home in the No 15 jersey.

New recruit, Trevor Nyakane, was a late withdrawal due to a strained neck muscle, but in more positive injury news, Arno Botha completed the match without incident in what was his first appearance since damaging his ACL a year ago.

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Sergeal Petersen

Sergeal Petersen

The Toyota Cheetahs have been dealt their first massive injury blow of the season when news filtered through that former SA Under 20 winger Sergeal Pietersen broke his jaw during Saturday’s pre-season friendly against the Vodacom Bulls in Polokwane.

Pietersen, who transferred to Bloemfontein from the EP Kings at the end of last season, went off the field early after a clash with a defender and was replaced by Clayton Blommetjies.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske confirmed that it would be a lengthy spell on the sidelines for Pietersen, who is a dynamite finisher.

“It looks like we’ve lost him for between 6 and 8 weeks,” Drotske said.

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BullsThe Vodacom Bulls have named their team to face the Toyota Cheetahs in Polokwane on Saturday.

Saracens & the Blue Bulls have also published a Vodacom Blue Bulls squad for the encounter the following week in London.

 

Toyota Cheetahs in Polokwane:

New Vodacom Bulls recruits Lappies Labuschagne and Trevor Nyakane will face their former Toyota Cheetahs teammates in Polokwane on Saturday when the two Vodacom Super Rugby sides clash in a friendly match in the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Flanker Labuschagne and Nyakane, who was selected at loosehead prop, moved north at the start of the season and will be part of the first hit-out of the season for the Pretoria side.

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Francois Uys

Francois Uys

Francois Uys will lead a strong Toyota Cheetahs side into battle when they travel to Polokwane to take on the Vodacom Bulls in their pre-season friendly on Saturday.

Uys has been appointed captain for the game, with coach Naka Drotske opting to choose a captain later before the start of the season.

Still, the Cheetahs team includes a host of new recruits, as well as two Springboks in Coenie Oosthuizen and Lood de Jager up front as they gear up for a tough Vodacom Super Rugby season.

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CheetahsThe Toyota Cheetahs’ preparations for Super Rugby this week reports on fitness niggles to Willie le Roux and Oupa Mahoje and also reports that Rayno Benjamin will miss the start of Super Rugby due to Sevens committments with the Blitzbokke for the first 2 weeks in February.

In addition the battle for the flyhalf spot between Joe Pietersen, Willie du Plessis and Francois Brummer, seems to be dominating the attention of the media, with speculation that Joe Pietersen seems to be the favourite, after the warm-up games to get Round 1’s starting spot.

Maks van Dyk, who has been on short term loan with Leinster in Ireland, to get valuable game time reports that he is enjoying his short Northern sojourn.

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CheetahsSuper Rugby preparations is also underway in Bloemfontein, in anticipation of the 2015 season.

News is that Joe Pietersen who previously played at fullback for the Stormers and then went to France to try things there, is back at the Cheetahs… to exclusively play flyhalf. Pietersen is a product of Grey College in Bloemfontein.

Heinrich Brüssow, who is currently still in Japan with the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes, before joining the Cheetahs for Super Rugby (as soon as his Japanese Club’s season ends) says that the standards of rugby in Japan has improved markedly.

The Cheetahs start their Super Rugby campaign with an away game against the Sharks in Durban on 14 February.

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Super RugbyWith Super Rugby fast approaching it is important to have a look at what each of the teams are doing in their preparations and who they have at their disposal.

As the teams prepare for this brusing competition there is the oppourtunity to test out combanations as well as see how the new boys go.

The Sharks will travel to French champions Toloun to test out their game plan against the Galacticos of rugby while the Bulls will take on the Cheetahs in a traditional pre-season match in Polokwane.

The Australasian sides will also warm up against each other with the Highlanders setting up a comprehensive pre-season schedule due to the first round bye.

The ‘transfer market’ has made the upcoming Super Rugby season an exciting prospect with some big names in James O’Connor and Nick Cummins returning to Australia.

Menawhile, the Bulls have bolstered their squad with some excellent former Cheetahs players.

Finally, and unsurprizingly, Ma’a Nonu has made another move – this time back to the Hurricanes.

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Cheetahs

This is the second article in the series of Cheetahs Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2015.

The Cheetahs have lost the services of a number of players between seasons and the hooker position is one severely affected by the loss of Adriaan Strauss (Bulls) and Hercu Liebenberg (released).

We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.

In this Article we look at the contenders for HOOKERS in the Toyota Cheetahs 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

Things are looking rather bleak in the hooker department and in the whole front row for the Cheetahs.

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Willie le Roux

Willie le Roux

Springbok Willie le Roux will be able to write his own salary cheque after next year’s World Cup.

According to media reports French giants Toulouse head an impressive list of clubs interested in the 25-year-old’s services.

English Premiership outfit Saracens and ‘several’ Japanese teams have put Le Roux on their wish list.

Le Roux is contracted to the Cheetahs until November next year and will be in the transfer market for the 2015 / 2016 season.

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CheetahsIn December’s discussions of the Super Rugby squad contenders for 2015, we discuss 2 positions in seperate Articles (Props & Hookers) and also seperate the Articles of the 5 SA Super Rugby participating franchises.

Work committments interfered a bit with my plans to start these articles at the hefty pace of 10 Super Rugby Articles every week, as today is the final day of the 1st week and this only represents the 3rd Article in the range, 7 behind schedule… but with a plan to radically catch up after the Christmas festivities and whilst leisurely following the 5-Day Cricket Test between South Africa and the West Indies which starts on Boxing Day (26 December).

The basic idea is to discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.

In this Article we look at the contenders for PROPS in the Toyota Cheetahs 2015 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

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Rugby-Talk.com

It is officially the dreaded OFF-SEASON for Southern Hemisphere rugby, so it means under normal circumstances that we would be going into withdrawal system mode very, very soon… but NEVER here on Rugby-Talk.com.

As from this week (sometime), we will be starting IN DEPTH DISCUSSIONS on the INDIVIDUAL POSITIONS and the PLAYERS who will be filling these positions for the 5 South African Super Rugby Franchises.

That alone means 40 Articles to feast on (8 per Franchise), at a rate of 2 per midweek day, therefor roughly 10 per week, and subsequently it will take us roughly 4 weeks to complete… which basically covers most of the off-season.

But, that is not all folks, we will also be covering INTERNATIONAL CRICKET and some of the NORTHERN HEMISPHERE RUGBY.

In addition we will have a Christmas and New Year’s message, which has also proven popular over the years.

So, lots to look forward to, hold on to your boots!

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