Planet Rugby

Preview: Cheetahs v Sharks

22nd February 2013 13:28

Share:

Cheetahs v Sharks Adrian Strauss

Game on: Sharks circling Cheetahs

The Sharks face a potential 'banana skin' when they travel to Bloemfontein for their Super Rugby opener against the Cheetahs.

While they are widely expected to beat the Free Staters, the derby dynamic will ensure the hosts will lift their game significantly.

Indeed, the Cheetahs have shown in previous encounters between these two sides that derby matches always bring the very best out of them and the Sharks will quite rightly be on high alert - even though the hosts came up short against the men from Durban on both occasions last season.

On their day, the Cheetahs are a dangerous beast with a back-line that would stand toe-to-toe with any in the tournament in terms of pace and movement and should not be underestimated.

The Cheetahs will field a mixed bag of youth and experience, but could face an uphill battle against a team boasting eight Springboks in their starting line-up with the likes of JP Pietersen, Frans Steyn and Pat Lambie in the backs, and Ryan Kankowski and Marcell Coetzee among the loose forwards.

And if pre-season performances are any indication, the Sharks deserve the favourites tag after beating the Leopards and Pumas convincingly in their warm-up matches.

The Cheetahs lost against the Bulls after beating the Stormers, and an early victory over the 2012 finalists would give them valuable confidence.

The Free State outfit will board the plane for their overseas tour shortly after playing the Sharks, and coach Naka Drotske would appreciate his side gaining some valuable momentum before playing the defending champion Chiefs in Hamilton next week.

"It is a crucial game for us from a touring perspective," said Drotske.

"We have guys like Johan Goosen and Coenie Oosthuizen back, but the team still needs to produce the goods if we are to take some momentum with us abroad.

"This is also our first home game and one we simply cannot lose."

Prediction: Whilst we don't think it will be one-way traffic from start to finish, we do think the Sharks will come away with a full house of points. Sharks to win by eight!

The teams:

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Frans Viljoen, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Elgar Watts, 22 Ryno Benjamin.

The Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Francois Steyn (c), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Odwa Ndungane.

Date: Saturday, February 23
Kick-off: 17:05 local (15:05 GMT)
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha (South Africa), Tiaan Jonker (South Africa)
Television match official: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
Sunday , April 27
Toulon vs Munster15:30
More Heineken Cup fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs EdinburghGlasgow vs Edinburgh Preview
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
Sunday , April 27
Wasps vs Bath13:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs WaratahsBlues vs Waratahs Preview
Brumbies vs ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Preview
Sharks vs HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Preview
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs Reds19:35
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs Stormers17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton 36 - 21 London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Report
Newcastle 18 - 23 SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Cardiff Blues 17 - 13 ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 10 - 20 Ospreys
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens2080
2Northampton2071
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058