Monday, 1 March 2010

Super 14 Preview 2010 - The Cheetahs

In my opinion they should be replaced by the Southern Kings. However, they are one of the teams in this year's Super 14, and my favourite for last position. Whilst they perform well in the Currie Cup, mental disintegration retards this side in the Super 14. The fact they've only ever won 1 away game in Super rugby, way back in 1997 has probably scarred them for life. They compete well against South African sides, but they just don't know how to beat the Aussies and Kiwis whether home or away.

The Cheetahs need to at least perform well in Bloem to help their fellow South African sides. The lineout is a potential weakness but they have one of the best front rows around and an awesome back row with captain Juan Smith, Heinrich Brussow and Ashley Johnson, it's the loss of flyhalf Jacques Louis-Potgieter that will hurt the most. Naas Olivier is not super rugby star material, I'd prefer they gave young Sias Ebersohn a chance. Sarel Pretorius could also be a real threat at scrumhalf.

The midfield is solid with Meyer Bosman, but it's out wide with Lionel Mapoe and Jongi Nokwe where they have their stars. Those two have genuine pace and represent try-scoring chances. If they can be given the ball in space they could score tries. Last year coach Naka Drotske didn't give Nokwe a fair run, if he makes the same mistake in 2010 the writing is on the wall.

Watch out for: The loose trio of Smith, Brussow and Johnson. Scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius is nippy and likely to score many tries, and the wings Mapoe and Nokwe are try-scoring machines given any space.

Prediction: Bottom 4

Sanjay Deva
"My blood is green"

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