Currie Cup

Roets targets Cheetah halfbacks

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Veteran Blue Bulls fullback Johan Roets, who will retire at the end of the season, believes that the key to beating the Free State Cheetahs – when the two sides meet in the Absa Currie Cup semi-final in Bloemfontein on Saturday – is to pile pressure on halfbacks Willem de Waal and Falie Oelschig.

The two teams – co-champions in 2006 – met last week and the Cheetahs ran out 29-17 victors.

However, Roets believes that this time round it could be a different story if the Bulls can shut down the highly effective fly-half De Waal) and scrum-half (Oelschig) combination.

“Willem and Falie have had a great season and the key will be to put them under pressure,” the 29-year-old Roets said in an online chat on the Blue Bulls website.

“It’s something we didn’t do last week.”

The veteran fullback warned that De Waal is the biggest danger to the Bulls’ aspirations of a sixth successive Currie Cup Final appearance.

“I think playing against any fly-half who has a good tactical kicking game is much harder than taking on someone who doesn’t kick too well. Willem de Waal is hard to read as a kicker because he’s left footed and most fly-halves aren’t.

“It makes it harder to always be in position when you play him,” he said.

Having lost to the Cheetahs in Pretoria last week, Roets believes that there are plenty of work for his team ahead of the semi-final.

“We weren’t sharp enough against the Cheetahs. It’s a mental attitude that we need to change and have discussed it already,” he said.

“I feel we had a number of ‘soft moments’ and that allowed them to score some tries. We have to lift the intensity and the concentration for Saturday.”

Roets knows that De Waal, with his educated boot, is likely to bombard the Bulls fullback – who would most certainly counter that with a barrage of up-and-unders of his own.

“The up-and-under is a good option when the defensive lines are up,” he explained.

“I think it’s a strong weapon I can utilise.

“However, sometimes we kick too much and I feel that we could be more effective by keeping the ball in hand – something we haven’t done enough of in recent weeks.”

Roets also felt that the Bulls must shut the Cheetahs down quickly and not allow them too much space for the Cheetahs to run into.

“That’s where they are very dangerous,” he said.

With the veteran No.15 is set to end a career of nearly a decade at the end of the Currie Cup season, the game against the Cheetahs could be the last of his career should his side lose.
 
365 Digital

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