Preview: Griquas v Free State Cheetahs

Date published: October 4 2013

These two sides combine to make up the Cheetahs in Super Rugby but there will no love lost when they meet in Kimberley on Saturday.

These two sides combine to make up the Cheetahs in Super Rugby but there will no love lost when they face each other in Kimberley on Saturday.

The Cheetahs know facing Griquas in their backyard is one of the toughest assignments in the competition as they seldom deliver a below par performance in front of their loyal supporters.

They may be at the bottom of the table but in their four previous matches in Kimberley, Griquas lost three of those encounters by less than seven points with the only blemish on their home record being last weekend's 52-10 loss to the Blue Bulls.

Both sides have dangerous backs but where the visitors hold the edge is up front where the experience of forwards like their captain Boom Prinsloo and Springbok front row Trevor Nyakane could prove decisive.

Griquas coach Pote Human is leaving the union at the end of the season, to further his career as the coach of the University of Pretoria's Varsity Cup side but he is still determined to do well for his current employers.

Although they have been competitive in the majority of their matches in Kimberley, the reality is that they are yet to win a match at home and Human is determined to put that right this weekend.

“This is our final home game of the competition,” he said.

“We desperately need this win if we are to ever again refer to GWK Park as an ally.

“We owe our loyal supporters a victory and against the Cheetahs and we will put in everything to try and achieve that.”

Human is staying positive even though his side are languishing at the bottom of the table and although they are six points adrift of the Blue Bulls, who are second-from-bottom.

The side which finishes in last place on the table must face the winners of the First Division in a promotion/relegation play-off but Human is not focussed on that at the moment.

“We still have our fate in our own hands with regards to playing in the promotion and relegation matches,” he said.

“We can still miss out – even if we managed to beat the Cheetahs on Saturday and the Lions in Johannesburg next weekend – but there is still that belief that it can be done.”

The Cheetahs won the corresponding fixture 40-20 in Round Four but the Bloemfontein-based outfit's boss Naka Drotske knows his side have not played to their potential this season.

Their record of three wins and five losses from eight matches indicates great inconsistency and they are determined to win in style to build some momentum ahead of the play-offs.

“This game is of huge importance to us,” he said.

“We slipped up in our last couple of games and need this victory if we are to progress to the semi-finals.

“We know that Griquas always pose a huge threat on their home ground and we will need to play for 80 minutes if we are to beat them.”

Prediction: Both sides are renowned for their attacking flair so don't expect them to deviate too much from that style of play. The Cheetahs will have the better of their neighbours, though, and will win by eight points!

The teams:

Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Richard Lawson, 13 JP Nel, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 RJ Liebenberg, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Dalton Davis, 3 Nico Pretorius, 2 Ryno Barnes (captain), 1 Steph Roberts
Replacements: 16 Matthew Dobson, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Rory Arnold, 19 Patrick O'Brien, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Du Randt Gerber, 22 Jean Stemmet.

Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Piet Lindeque, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Boom Prinsloo (capt), 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Teboho Mohoje, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Philip van der Walt, 19 Freddy Ngoza, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Willie du Plessis, 22 Joubert Engelbrecht.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan