Speedy Cheetahs to stretch the Reds


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The Cheetahs have opted for more pace and the expansive game of Herkie Kruger at fly-half in their Super 14 Round 12 encounter with the Reds on Saturday.

Cheetahs manager Naka Drotsk’ confirmed on Thursday that they had tweaked their backline to accommodate a more expansive approach against the Reds, who they feel are vulnerable out wide.

Speaking from the team’s base in the Queensland state, Drotsk’ said that Herkie Kruger will replace Willem de Waal at fly-half, Ronnie Cooke moves from outside centre to the wing in place of Gavin Passens and veteran Springbok Marius Joubert comes in to take over the number 13 jersey from Cooke.

“Yes, we want to take them on in the backs,” Drotsk’ said.

“We are planning to play a lot more expansive, because we feel that is where they are vulnerable.

“We also feel that Herkie is a lot stronger on defence in that [fly-half] channel,” Drotsk’ added.

The other changes are up front.

Young Wian du Preez comes in at loosehead prop for veteran Ollie le Roux, captain Juan Smith moves from number eight to the flank in place of young Heinrich Brussouw and Kabamba Floors comes in at number eight.

Drotsk’ said Du Preez “played himself into the starting XV” with his performance when he came on as a second-half replacement against the Hurricanes last week.

The changes amongst the loose forwards are all related to adding some more experience to this combination.

“Kabamba [Floors] has got the experience of having played many [Super rugby] games,” Drotsk’ said.

“Heinrich Brussouw did very well, but he is very young still [only 20] and you don’t want to expose him too much,” the manager added.

There are also a five forwards, two backs split on the bench – a clear indication that the Cheetahs are prepared to change tactics if their expansive approach doesn’t produce dividends.

Cheetahs: 15 Philip Burger, 14 Eddie Fredericks, 13 Marius Joubert, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Ronnie Cooke, 10 Herkie Kruger, 9 Falie Oelschig, 8 Kabamba Floors, 7 Juan Smith (c), 6 Duane Vermeulen, 5 Rory Duncan, 4 Corniel van Zyl, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Hans van Dyk, 17 Ollie le Roux, 18 Bian Vermaak, 19 Heinrich Brussouw, 20 Ryno van der Merwe, 21 Michael Classens, 22 Tiger Mangweni.

Date: Saturday, 21 April
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 15.30 (05.30 GMT)
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), James Scholtens (Australia)
Television match official: Dan Cheever (Australia)
Assessor: Ian Scotney


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