Preview: Free State Cheetahs v WP

Date published: August 27 2015

The Free State Cheetahs host Western Province in what promises to be an entertaining affair in Bloemfontein on Friday.

The Cheetahs are on a high after impressing in their 31-9 victory over Griquas in Kimberley last weekend. 

That result was a significant one for head coach Franco Smith and his charges as it was their first triumph of the season – after they lost to the Blue Bulls in their season opener and WP in the corresponding fixture in Cape Town in Round Two.

The champions, Western Province, are licking their wounds after suffering a humiliating defeat in Pretoria against the Blue Bulls, in their previous match, and will be determined to bounce back this weekend.

WP know it will not be easy against their hosts however as they had to work hard before securing a 9-3 victory when these sides met in Cape Town two weeks ago.

In their last match against the Blue Bulls, WP were outscored by five tries to two after a superb second half fightback by their hosts. 

Despite coming off second best in most facets of play against the Bulls, the Cheetahs are still wary of the men from Cape Town's prowess at the scrums and have brought loosehead prop BG Uys into their starting XV.

Cheetahs boss Franco Smith expects Uys to make an impact in the set-piece.

"BG has a reputation as a superior scrummer," he told Times Live.

"We are building a new mindset around scrumming. I think he is the kind of person who can bring that for us.

"We have tried to move away from leaning in the scrums. There are a few technical points that have changed. We are doing it more like it is done in Europe."

WP head coach John Dobson expects a difficult assignment in Bloemfontein.

"The Cheetahs will be eyeing up this match as a one to win – they're at home against a team that lostheavily a few days ago and they ran us close in Cape Town two weeks ago," he said.

"At the same time, we know we need to win and win well, but we need to remain controlled and focused on the plan at hand in order to prevent a repeat of last week."

Prediction: Don't be surprised if this is a high-scoring affair as both these sides enjoy playing expansively. It should be close but the Cheetahs will win by five points!

The teams:

Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 Francois Uys (c), 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 BG Uys.
Replacements: 16 Elandre Huggett, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Reniel Hugo, 19 Freddy Ngoza, 20 Ruan van Rensburg, 21 Tertius Kruger, 22 Sias Ebersohn.

Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Nizaam Carr (c), 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Ruan Botha , 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JP Smith, 18 Jan de Klerk, 19 Chris Cloete, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Dillyn Leyds.

Date: Friday, August 28
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant Referees: Sindile Ngcese, Pieter Maritz
TMO: Willie Vos