Planet Rugby

Preview: Sharks v Cheetahs

19th April 2013 08:17

Share:

Pat Lambie of the Sharks and Frans Viljoen of the Cheetahs

Rematch: The Sharks got the better of the Cheetahs last time out

The Sharks and Cheetahs enter this encounter seething after derby losses last week, but it's the hosts who look best positioned to recover with a win.

The Cheetahs have achieved an incredibly successful start to the season, winning five of their first eight matches. However, despite entering Round Ten of the competition, the men from Bloemfontein are yet to enjoy a week off despite the likes of the Stormers currently being on their second bye week.

Throw in a trip to Australia and New Zealand and it's impressive that the Cheetahs came as close as they did to beating the Bulls last week, going down 26-20 at Loftus.

It's hard not to feel that such a strenuous schedule will not start to catch up with Naka Drotske's men, especially as the Cheetahs coach has resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes to his team at any stage.

Indeed, Saturday's line-up shows just one alteration from the team that lost to the Bulls, with Coenie Oosthuisen replacing Trevor Nyakane at prop.

The long-term loss of Johan Goosen was always going to be hard to cope with, and with half-back partner Sarel Pretorius also sidelined, the Cheetahs are missing an attacking force that could certainly propel them forward in such an encounter.

The Sharks find themselves atop of the South African Conference but enter this clash having suffered just their second loss of the season last week against the Stormers.

John Plumtree's men have been hard-hit not only by injuries but also a loss of form to key players, with the demotion of Frans Steyn, Jannie du Plessis and Ryan Kankowski a sure sign that Plumtree has lost patience with the under-performing Springbok trio.

However, it is the loss of JP Pietersen to an ankle injury that may stymie the Sharks the most.

Last season the Sharks notched up 47 tries during the regular season but with seven matches played in 2013, they have crossed the whitewash just 13 times. Pietersen is one of the Sharks' major creative forces and his loss will certainly be felt.

A back three that consists of Riaan Viljoen, Odwa Ndungane and youngster Sean Robinson won't inspire fear into the hearts of the Cheetahs defence and it would appear that once again much of the magic will have to come from fly-half Pat Lambie.

Lambie's boot has seen the Sharks home a few times this season and the pivot will need to have his kicking boots on to ensure that a lively Cheetahs outfit are kept at bay.

There have been rumblings of a crisis in the Sharks camp following Plumtree's brutally honest assessment of those who have failed to reach the heights expected of them, but there are enough positives to keep Sharks fans happy for the moment.

The performance of youngsters Cobus Reinach, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Wiehahn Herbst and Kyle Cooper have been exciting to watch and their energy together with a powerful loose trio and the cool head of Lambie should see them through.

The two teams have already faced-off this season, with the Sharks coming out on top 29-22 in the opening weekend of the 2013 campaign.

Having dominated early on the Sharks nearly let the match slip away from them after a powerful comeback from the hosts. They're sure to be wearier of making the match safe this time around.

Prediction:
The Sharks should have enough in the tank to put away the Cheetahs, but a powerful start from the visitors could leave the men from Durban doubting themselves. Regardless, the Sharks to take it by 10.

The teams:

Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Sean Robinson, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Keegan Daniel (capt), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Jannie du Plessis, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Tera Mtembu, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Francois Steyn, 22 Andries Coetzee.

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johan Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Phillip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (capt), 1 Coenie Oosthuisen.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Landman Ligtoring, 19 Frans Viljoen, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Francois Brummer Francois, 22 Ryno Benjamin.

Date: Saturday, April 20
Kick-off: 17:05 local (16:05 BST, 15:05 GMT)
Venue: Kings Park
Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker (South Africa),Stefan Breytenbach (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs ToulonUlster vs Toulon Preview
Scarlets vs LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Preview
Bath vs ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Preview
Montpellier vs GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Preview
Northampton vs OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs Edinburgh19:35
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs ConnachtExeter vs Connacht Preview
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs LionsWestern Province vs Lions Preview
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615