Cheetahs unchanged for Crusaders clash

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Droske Ap 9 Gallo Images Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has emphasised the need for his squad to deliver the goods in the next few weeks, but has made no changes for the Crusaders clash in Bloemfontein on Saturday. Photo: Johan Pretorius

Johannesburg — Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has announced an unchanged side for the Super Rugby encounter against the Crusaders at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The Cheetahs played to a draw at the same venue last weekend against the Chiefs and in the process managed to obtain three points.

Drotske was just happy that all his charges escaped the Chiefs game unscathed.

“It is always good to have continuity with regards to team selection,” said Drotske.

“We’ve lost one or two players in recent weeks, but if you compare that with a lot of other teams we’ve been quite lucky so far.

“We’ve lost Coenie Oosthuizen (prop) for three to four weeks, as well as Francois Venter (centre) for three months, but other than that we’ve had much continuity. That is something you dearly need in this competition.”

The Cheetahs are second from the bottom on the overall points log and Drotske has underlined the need for his side to produce the goods the next couple of weeks.

“We’re in a situation where we need to win all our remaining games.

We know we have to be very physical if we want to beat them (the Crusaders). The last three years we’ve done well against them and that will give us a lot of confidence,” the coach added.

According to Drotske, a physical approach by the Cheetahs would be key.

“The Crusaders are a very physical side that relies on momentum.

“They want to get over the advantage line and have a very patient game plan that they follow to achieve that. They love taking the ball through many phases. We know how and who we need to tackle, but we need to be precise in doing so.

Drotske said he knew New Zealand teams would target South African sides at the breakdown area.

“If we can protect our possession with two or three players, we will have more players on their feet that can attack from there. We know that we have to execute for 80 minutes if we want to beat them,” said Drotske.

The Cheetahs team: Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, Johann Sadie, Rayno Benjamin, Hennie Daniller, Johan Goosen, Sarel Pretorius, Jean Cook, Lappies Labuschagne, Boom Prinsloo, Francois Uys, Lodewyk de Jager, Maks van Dyk, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Trevor Nyakane. Replacements: Rayno Barnes, Caylib Oosthuizen, Rossouw de Klerk, Andries Ferreira, Teboho Mohoje, Shaun Venter, Elgar Watts, Howard Mnisi. – Sapa



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