Planet Rugby

Preview: Cheetahs v Stormers

24th April 2014 18:27

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Siya Kolisi Stormers v Cheetahs SR 2013

Openside: Siya Kolisi

The Cheetahs and the Stormers will have more than competition points to play for when they face off in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

As the tournament's basement dwellers, and with just one point separating the Stormers, who are in 14th place - on 10 points - and the home side, who are 15th, victory will have extra significance as the losers will occupy the bottom place.

Victory will come as a relief for the winners but will not be enough to take them higher than second last place in the standings, as their closest rivals, on the table, the 13th-placed Rebels are six points ahead of the Stormers at the moment.

Both sides have reached the playoffs in recent seasons but have been found wanting in 2014. On the one side, the home side's defence has let them down more often than not, especially late in matches, although they defended very well in their loss to the Sharks in Durban last weekend.

The Cheetahs have conceded at least five more tries (14) than any other side in the last 20 minutes of games this year.

And on the other hand, the Stormers have struggled to score tries - only the Lions with 11 have scored less than the Stormers' 12 - while the Cheetahs' 22 five-pointers is the most of all South African sides.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske knows his side is in for a tough battle against the visitors but believes his side can beat the men from the Cape if they stick to their strengths for the entire game.

"It's really important to go back to our basics and focus on our set piece," he said.

"I thought that our defence in the last game was a step in the right direction.

"You need to go back to basics and take it step by step. We know that if we play well in Bloemfontein, we can beat any team.

"We need to get rid of those soft moments were we do funny things and let teams back into the game to beat us. We need to play for 80 minutes."

The Stormers delivered a superb first half performance in their victory over the Lions, scoring 18 unanswered points and crossed for two tries in the process.

They reverted to their old ways again in the second half and failed to add to that tally while also conceding a penalty to their visitors from the Johannesburg.

Coetzee knows that a similar showing could prove disastrous in Bloemfontein. A key battle to keep an eye on is at the breakdown. Springbok back-row Heinrich Brussow made an impressive return in that department against the Sharks and faces stiff opposition from the visitors flankers, Siya Kolisi and Nizaam Carr, who are also fine foragers

The Stormers have an ace up their sleeve poacher in hooker Deon Fourie, who has also shone on the side of the scrum in several matches for the visitors. The battle between him and Brussow for turnover possession has been one of the talking points in the build up to the game and could play a big part in determining the game's outcome.

Previous results:
2013: Stormers won 28-3 in Cape Town
2013: Cheetahs won 26-24 in Bloemfontein
2012: Stormers won 16-14 in Cape Town
2012: Stormers won 13-6 in Bloemfontein
2011: Stormers won 44-34 in Bloemfontein
2011: Stormers won 21-15 in Cape Town

Prediction: Both sides will be highly motivated in their quest to get off the foot of the table so don't be surprised if this game is decided in its closing stages. Home ground advantage will swing it in the Cheetahs' favour, however. Cheetahs to win by three points!

The teams:

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Ryno Benjamin, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Jean Cook, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Waltie Vermeulen, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Riaan Smit, 23 Cornal Hendricks.

Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Damian de Allende, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Devon Williams, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Michael Rhodes, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Kobus van Wyk

Date: Saturday April 26
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 17:05 local (15:05 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert (SA)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Francois de Bruin (both SA)
TMO: Johan Greeff (SA)

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