Planet Rugby

Preview: Cheetahs v Reds

17th May 2013 08:03

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Digby Ioane Reds v Cheetahs 2011

Cheetahs v Reds: Expect plenty of running

Two of the tournament's most entertaining sides, the Cheetahs and the Reds, will face each other in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Both teams have thrilled throughout the tournament, with the Cheetahs surprising some of the tournament's more fancied teams with their attacking style of play.

After last weekend's home defeat to the Hurricanes, Cheetahs boss Naka Drotské knows his troops can not afford another defeat in their backyard and are keen to secure victory which should see them returning to the play-off positions in the standings.

But beating the Brisbane-based outfit is easier said than done and Drotské expects a difficult assignment against the 2011 champions.

"The Reds are a quality team," he said.

"They are one of the front runners in the competition and probably one of the favourites to win the title.

"In players like Will Genia, Quade Cooper and Digby Ioane they have a bunch of very exciting backs who are difficult to play against.

"It's happened in the past that when a team has such a great back-line, their pack isn't as good, but that is not true for the Reds - they have a very good scrum and line-out and strong ball carriers upfront.

"Although they struggled against the Force recently, it will be tough to beat them and our defence will have to be up for it. But we always give ourselves a chance in Bloem."

The Reds are serous contenders for the title and will look to continue where they left off after last weekend's 32-17 thumping of the Sharks in Brisbane.

Although they didn't face the Cheetahs in 2011, they will head into this clash full of confidence as they have beaten their hosts in four of their six previous matches with the Cheetahs victorious on two occasions.

The Reds triumphed 31-10 in their last visit to Bloemfontein in 2010.

But despite those statistics, Reds director of rugby Ewen McKenzie is still wary of the threat posed by the Cheetahs.

"The Cheetahs have always been renowned for their willingness to attack but this year they are doing so with a lot more confidence," he said.

" They've got plenty of X-factor and they are enjoying their best season yet in Super Rugby.

"They're a really complicated team to prepare for but we'll go into the match with plenty of confidence and with some excitement about tackling the challenges of touring to South Africa.

"We understand this fortnight can set us up nicely for the remainder of the season so it's important we start it off on the right note with a strong showing against the Cheetahs."

Prediction: These sides' adventurous styles mean we could have another high-scoring game. Expect both sides to run the ball at will but, as proven against the Hurricanes last weekend, this plan could backfire on the Cheetahs if they have not improved their defence. This is unlikely to happen within a week, so we're backing the Reds to win by seven points!

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

Reds: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Anthony Faingaa, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Ed O'Donoghue, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Ben Lucas, 22 Ben Tapuai.

Date: Saturday, May 18
Kick-off: 19:10 local (18:10 GMT)
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Sieg van Staden (South Africa)
Television match official: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

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