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Smit replaces Ebersohn in Cheetahs line-up

Riaan Smit starts at 10 this week in Bloemfontein

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Article Published: Wednesday 16 May 2012|

Riaan Smit's performance against the Stormers last weekend has prompted Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske to name him at flyhalf ahead of Sias Ebersohn against the Sharks.

Sias Ebersohn had an apportunity to fill the shoes of injured Cheetahs playmaker Johan Goosen but has struggled to regain the form that branded him one of the side's best players in 2011.

"With Sias it is a confidence thing. It is something he needs to sort out for himself," Drotske said.

"Yes, he will be on the bench, but he can still make a huge impact as a replacement in the second half."

Ebersohn replaced Goosen after he injured his shoulder against the Highlanders.

Near the end of the match, he missed possibly one of the easiest kicks at goal, a kick that could have given his side a much-needed victory.

Drotske still backed Ebersohn as his first choice for last week's match against the Western Force, and though he didn't do much wrong, he didn't outshine anyone either.

Ebersohn, however, failed his next real test against the Stormers last Saturday. His tactical kicking was off-key, while his ability to convert penalties was also left wanting.

Drotske introduced Smit early in the second half and he sparked a fightback for the Cheetahs which saw them missing out on victory by a mere two points.

In Patrick Lambie, the Sharks will field a young, but experienced fly-half and Drotske would want his starting flyhalf to be at his best.

Smit not only had a solid Vodacom Cup campaign, but also impressed against the Stormers with his goal kicking and ability on the attack.

"Riaan did very well when he came onto the field," Drotske said.

"It will be good to give him a chance in the starting line-up. He hasn't played a lot of Super Rugby thus far this season, but we know what he is capable of.

"He showed against the Stormers that he is a good attacking player and that he has kept his goal kicking up to par."

Smit's inclusion in the starting line-up and Ebersohn's relegation is the only change to the Cheetahs side that narrowly lost to the Stormers.


Hennie Daniller, Cameron Jacobs, Robert Ebersohn, Andries Strauss, Willie le Roux, Riaan Smit, Piet van Zyl, Philip van der Walt, Justin Downey, Heinrich Brussow, George Earle, Izak van der Westhuizen, WP Nel, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Coenie Oosthuizen.

Replacements: Hercu Liebenberg, Trevor Nyakane, Andries Ferreira, Ashley Johnson, Tewis de Bruyn, Sias Ebersohn, Philip Snyman.

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