Planet Rugby

Preview: Cheetahs v Lions

14th February 2014 07:58

Share:

Johan Goosen Cheetahs v Lions SR 2014

Showdown: Cheetahs v Lions

The Cheetahs and Lions will have the honour of getting the 2014 season underway when they face off in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

These sides might be two of the competitions more unfancied teams, but if previous matches between them are to be used as a yardstick then we are set to have an entertaining encounter.

Both sides employ expansive game-plans and don't be surprised if this is a high scoring game.

But don't forget, this is a South African derby. The collisions will be huge and the intensity levels high as neither side will be prepared to give the other an inch in their quest to get the season off to a winning start.

The Cheetahs have won five out of the nine previous games against the Lions, with the men from Johannesburg winning the other four encounters. The average score is 31-20 to the Cheetahs who have scored scored 27 tries compared to the Lions' 16.

Naka Drotske's men were the surprise package of last year's tournament and registered their best ever finish. Their sixth place on the table secured them a spot in the play-offs where they suffered a narrow defeat to eventual runners-up, the Brumbies in Canberra.

Drotske is keen for a repeat of that effort but admits that it will not be easy.

"We're definitely under pressure to repeat our achievements from last year, but at the same time I want to say that we've also gained a lot of confidence and belief from 2013 in that we know we can reach the play-offs," he said.

"So we're rather under positive pressure - our supporters and sponsors now know we can compete with the top six teams in the competition and we don't want to disappoint them."

Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss echoed his coach's sentiments but warned against complacency when facing the Lions.

"We want to bring with us the positivity and energy from last year's competition," said Strauss.

"But the intensity with which we'll play is still in our own hands."

The match is a momentous occasion for the Lions, who return to the competition after they were relegated at the end of the 2012 season to make way for the Southern Kings.

Lions boss Johan Ackermann believes their year in the wilderness will make them an unknown quantity in this year's competition and although they'll start as underdogs against the Cheetahs he feels they have a chance of upsetting their hosts.

"They don't know what to expect from us and at what level we are going to be and in which areas we will challenge them," said Ackermann.

"We still want to enjoy this campaign regardless of the results. Nobody goes onto the field to lose - so when those setbacks happen we still have to enjoy each other.

"We are going to go out and do our best and take it from there."

Prediction: Although the Lions will be psyched up for their first game back since 2012, they will have little to crow about, after this game, as the Cheetahs should dominate from start to finish. Cheetahs to win by eight points!

The teams:

Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Maks van Dyk, 19 Ligtoring Landman, 20 Jean Cook, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Rayno Benjamin.

Lions: 15 Chrysander Botha , 14 Deon van Rensburg , 13 Lionel Mapoe , 12 Stefan Watermeyer , 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Coenie van Wyk, 23 Alwyn Hollenbach.

Date: Saturday, February 15
Kick off: 17:05 (local), 15:05 (GMT)
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Television match official: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff BluesLeinster vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411