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Preview: Cheetahs v Hurricanes

09th May 2013 11:52

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Coenie Oosthuizen Cheetahs v Hurricanes 2012

Cheetahs v 'Canes: Should be entertaining

The Hurricanes face a tricky assignment against this season's surprise package, the Cheetahs, in Bloemfontein on Friday.

After 10 matches played, the Cheetahs occupy sixth position on the table while the Hurricanes are in 11th spot with 28 points from the same number of games.

Matches between these sides are usually entertaining, as both teams like to play expansively, and their most recent encounters have been high-scoring affairs.

The men from Bloemfontein claimed a memorable 47-38 victory in Wellington last year after the 'Canes won 50-47 win in Bloemfontein in 2011.

In the seven previous matches between these teams, the Hurricanes have won four times and the Cheetahs' three.

The Cheetahs have made their best ever start to a campaign, winning seven matches so far, and will fancy their chances off adding to that total after having a bye last weekend.

The Hurricanes have delivered a mixed bag of results in 2013 - they've won five and lost five so far this season - and will be desperate for a win after suffering a humiliating 48-14 defeat against the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend.

And in the previous match, they suffered an 18-16 defeat to the Stormers in Wellington.

In both those losses the 'Canes were outplayed in the forward exchanges and Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has made no secret that their plan is to attack the 'Canes up front .

"I do think it will be an expansive game," he told Supersport

"There is no rain and the way the Hurricanes play is pretty much like we do.

"They try to attack from their own half when it is on and they keep the ball in hand. Counter attacks are one of their strengths. Hopefully it won't be a high scoring game from both teams.

"Our defence is a lot better.

"Looking at last week and the weeks before, at scrum time and their stopping of the maul is suspect, so we will like to attack them there.

"But other than that, you have to keep the ball through phases and they have conceded a few tries.

"If you manage to keep the ball through five or six or seven phases, you tend to find reward. It is very important that we keep the ball through these phases."

Hurricanes assistant coach Alama Ieremia is not surprised by that strategy and said his side are preparing for another physical onslaught.

"It's an obvious area to attack us, but of all the South African teams, their strength is moving the ball around so we've got to make sure we cope with that," he told Yahoosport

The Hurricanes suffered a major blow when their captain, All Blacks centre Conrad Smith, was sidelined with concussion.

Ieremia admits that losing Smith is a setback but believes his side will still deliver a good performance.

"Losing that amount of experience is a bit of a blow, but we're pretty confident with the leadership we have and we've addressed that in terms of the voices that need to be heard around the team."

Prediction: The Hurricanes will be battered after the loss to the Bulls and it's sure to have an impact on their performance against their hosts who will be fresh after last week's bye. Cheetahs to win by six points!

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 Frans Viljoen, 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 Ligtoring Landman, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Elgar Watts, 22 Ryno Benjamin.

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor/James Marshall, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Reynold Lee-Lo, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito (c), 7 Jack Lam/Karl Lowe, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements:16 Reggie Goodes 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen 18 James Broadhurst 19 Brad Shields 20 Chris Smylie 21 Tusi Pisi 22 James Marshall / Karl Lowe

Date: Friday, May 10
Kick-off: 19:10 local (18:10 BST, 17:10 GMT)
Venue: Free State Stadium
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant Referees: Lourens van der Merwe and Francois de Bruin
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee

Put your money where your mouth is and make your predictions here!

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