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ABSA Park, Kimberley, 16.00 (14.00 GMT)


It has been a week of talking big games. Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie said he plans to “take on” the Cheetahs’ powerful pack. Rival coach Rassie Erasmus said he would relish the challenge.


If the talking in the build-up has been intriguing, the game itself promises to be a cracker. Both teams have won once (in Round One) and lost once (last week). Both teams are brimful of raw talent and both sides are known for their coaches’ ability to analyse the opposition.


That is why the remarks of the coaches actually carry more weight than what they do in most other games.


As McKenzie rightfully pointed out, the key to winning this game is in getting the ascendancy up front.


“They certainly have the pack [of forwards] to do that [gain the ascendancy],” Cheetahs coach Rassie Erasmus said.


“It will be a very good challenge if they do [take the Cheetahs on up front],” Erasmus added.


Erasmus makes no secret of the fact that he rates the Australian franchise very highly, both in terms of the quality of their game and their personnel.


“They have reached the semi-finals for the past few years and the Waratahs remain a very powerful unit,” he said.


However, McKenzie knows that his team has not performed nearly as well as they would have liked to in the first two rounds.


Having moved away from the city life to the more serene surroundings of Kimberley the players were able to focus on the task at hand without any distractions.


“Everyone seems a bit fresher up here in Kimberley and I’m certain we’ll put in an improved performance against the Cheetahs,” McKensie said.


Prediction: This is a tough one to call, but the Cheetahs may have a real “home ground” advantage, as not too many of the Waratahs would have been to Kimberley before. The Cheetahs to sneak it – by less than 10 points.


Teams:


Cheetahs:

 

15 Phillip Burger, 14 Eddie Fredericks, 13 Marius Joubert, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Ronnie Cooke, 10 Herkie Kruger, 9 Falie Oelschig, 8 Darren Nell, 7 Juan Smith Juan (c), 6 Kabamba Floors, 5 Corniel van Zyl, 4 Bian Vermaak, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Wiaan du Preez
Replacements: 16 Richard Strauss, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Henro Scholtz, 19 Ryno van der Merwe, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Gavin Passens, 22 Tiger Mangweni

Waratahs squad:


Forwards: Al Baxter, Will Caldwell, Tim Davidson, Rocky Elsom, Adam Freier, Ben Hand, Dean Mumm, Wycliff Palu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Jeremy Tilse, Phil Waugh.


Backs: Kurtley Beale, Daniel Halangahu, Sam Harris, Peter Hewat, Ben Jacobs, Sam Norton-Knight, Brett Sheehan, Lote Tuqiri, Morgan Turinui, Josh Valentine


Referee: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Vinny Munro (New Zealand), Pro Legoete (South Africa)
Television match official: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

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