Planet Rugby

Preview: Stormers v Cheetahs

28th June 2013 11:09

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Siya Kolisi Stormers v Cheetahs SR 2013

Plenty at stake: Stormers v Cheetahs

The Stormers will be out for revenge when they host the Cheetahs in what promises to be an entertaining derby in Cape Town on Saturday.

The Cheetahs have been the tournament's surprise packages, and claimed a last-gasp 26-24 victory over their more fancied opponents in the corresponding fixture in Bloemfontein in Round Eight.

That result will be fresh in the memories of Stormers boss Allister Coetzee and his charges, as it was their first defeat to the men from Bloemfontein since 2007.

Both sides are still in the race to reach the play-offs and this weekend's clash could play a huge role in deciding whether they reach that goal.

The Cheetahs are in fifth position on the table, but they know they can't afford a defeat as there are several other sides, who are still battling it out for a spot in the play-offs.

Coetzee knows that his troops can expect a difficult assignment against their high-riding opponents.

"The Cheetahs have everything to play for," said Coetzee.

"They're a good team, they've done well in the tournament and they have play-off possibilities.

"They've also developed a few Springboks in their squad, so they're a quality side.

"We know we're in for a tough game."

Coetzee knows that the Stormers face an uphill task to make the play-offs but is determined to win their last three league matches and hope that results from other fixtures go their way.

"It's not a case of the competition being over for us," he added.

"We're a proud Stormers team and, who knows, with some showers of blessings something might happen?

"We're definitely not happy with our (11th-place) position on the log, therefore the next three games are really important to make sure we improve that.

"We have a proud record at home and we want to keep that intact. The players are looking forward to the next three derbies and they're keen to play."

Part of the Cheetahs' success has been coach Naka Drotske's ability to maintain continuity in selections. Apart from a season-ending knee injury to first-choice fly-half Johan Goosen, he hasn't had to do much chopping and changing to his side.

Goosen's injury has seen Riaan Smit, Burton Francis and Elgar Watts all wearing the number 10 jersey in various matches for the Cheetahs.

Francis was the hero when he secured a win over the Stormers with that injury time penalty in Bloemfontein earlier this year. He has fallen from grace, however, and is not in the matchday squad for this weekend's clash.

Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie believes a win will be enough to secure his side their first ever-appearance in the tournament's knockout stages.

"It is a very important game for us, as we are just one win away from securing a spot in the top six when the league season ends," Fourie said.

"There is a lot of pressure on us to secure our place in the top six in the next two games and if we can get a bonus point out of one of these games we are in a position where we can finish in the top four."

If the Cheetahs manage to secure that victory, it will be there first triumph in Cape Town since 2006 when they managed a 31-25 win.

Prediction: Although both sides are hungry for victory, the Stormers seldom play poorly in front of their home supporters and will win a close battle by five points!

The teams:

Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Deon Fourie (captain), 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements:16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Ross Geldenhuys, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Don Armand, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Gerhard van den Heever

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Riaan Smit, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Rynhardt Landman, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (capt), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Walti Evermeulen, 19 Johannes Prinsloo, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Elgar Watts, 22 Howard Mnisi.

Date: Saturday, 29 June
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 19.15 (17.15 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Marc van Zyl (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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