Johannesburg - One thing’s certain - if the Sharks want to bag five log points from their match against the Cheetahs on Saturday, they’re going to have to work extremely hard for them.
All the pressure will be on Jake White’s Sharks when they visit Bloemfontein as they look to bag a full house of 10 points from their remaining two games, in an effort to finish the league phase atop the standings.
Following a disappointing campaign, the Cheetahs are out of the running to feature in the play-offs, but coach Naka Drotske has made it clear his side want to finish on a high.
He may not be in a position to pick any Griquas players as the Kimberley-based team are involved in the Currie Cup qualifying competition, but Drotske can still put a very formidable side into the field.
No less than eight Springboks have been included in the starting team and that number could have been nine had Heinrich Brüssow not been injured.
“I think all the pressure will be on the Sharks... if they want a home semi-final they’ll need to win their next two games,” Drotske said.
That may be, but Drotske will be fully aware a number of his players may have their minds on other matters, with several set to leave the union at the end of the current campaign or after the Currie Cup competition. Of course, with this the last home game for some of these men, they’ll be fired up to put on a good show. The Cheetahs visit Ellis Park next Saturday.
The good news for Drotske is that his Bok players, among them Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks and Lodewyk de Jager have been in excellent form, while Teboho Mohoje, Adriaan Strauss and Trevor Nyakane didn’t feature much for the national team and will be itching to play again.
Number eight Philip van der Walt is back in action after a lengthy injury lay-off, while Jean Cook and Sarel Pretorius are also fighting fit again. Drotske has picked Torsten van Jaarsveld on the flank even though he’s been playing more at hooker in recent times.
Cheetahs: Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, Johan Sadie, Ryno Benjamin, Raymond Rhule, Johan Goosen, Sarel Pretorius, Philip van der Walt, Teboho Mohoje, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Francois Uys, Lodewyk de Jager, Coenie Oosthuizen, Adriaan Strauss (capt), Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: Caylib Oosthuizen, Luan de Bruyn, Carl Wegner, Jean Cook, Henco Venter, Shaun Venter, Elgar Watts, Hennie Daniller.