Strawbrige calls for more aggression

Date published: April 14 2017

Chiefs assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge has called for a more aggressive approach ahead of their clash with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Liam Messam, Dominic Bird and Hika Elliot take places on the bench to be replaced by Mitchell Brown, Taleni Seu and Brayden Mitchell respectively.

In the backline, Sam McNicol comes in at outside centre, while Stephen Donald drops out of the match 23. Anton Lienert-Brown moves to inside centre while Alex Nankivell and Finlay Christie are included on the bench.

Meanwhile, Strawbrige cannot contain his excitement at the prospect of McNicol at 13.

“We’ve always had him in our midfield frame,” Strawbridge said of the 21-year-old who has missed the first part of the season with concussion before playing against the Stormers.

“He’s a very fast player, and he’s quite a heady player, and we’ve been looking forward to him being right to get an opportunity there. He came on last week and his chop-tackling was particularly accurate, and he’s going to give us a bit of an injection.”

The 52-year-old believes his side could have been more physical in the game against the Stormers last weekend.

“We thought we were caught a little bit on the back foot last week, and we want to be a bit more aggressive,” he said.

“We’re looking to freshen things up and to really speed this game up.”

He has also warned his side to guard against complacency against a Cheetahs side that will be looking to prove they are worthy of Super Rugby status having been one of the teams touted for the axe from the competition next year.

“To be talked about in those terms is pretty confronting, and I can imagine that it would give you a good rallying point as a team,” Strawbridge said.

“And you want to prove people wrong, even if its only whispers.

“We spoke in our group how we’d feel if that was the case with us, and it would certainly put the bristles up on the back of your neck, we’d want to be doing the best we possibly could.

“So we’re expecting the Cheetahs to be a handful.”