Bloemfontein – The Free State Cheetahs aim to achieve only their second victory of this year's Currie Cup competition when hosting Griquas in the Free State Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts beat the Lions at the start of the season, but came up short against Western Province and the Sharks in their next two games.
“We know it is going to be difficult. Griquas is a side that can never be underestimated,” Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské said.
“We slipped up against the Sharks last weekend and need to rectify that. Victories at home are non-negotiable but we've already lost one and can't afford to lose another.”
Drotské made one tactical change to the side which lost to the Sharks, opting to leave out loosehead prop Caylib Oosthuizen for the burly Rossouw de Klerk.
Regular tighthead, Trevor Nyakane, would move to loosehead to help bolster a Cheetahs scrum which, it was anticipated, would be targeted by the visitors from Kimberley.
“We are expecting a huge scrum war against Griquas,” Drotske said.
“They did an excellent job of disrupting Western Province in the scrums and we know they will come at us from all angles in the set pieces.
“We've brought in Rossouw as a tactical decision to help strengthen the scrums and hopefully we can dominate there.”
Griquas travel to Bloemfontein after an unsettling week. They lost their three choice locks – Ligtoring Landman, Jaco Nepgen and Jonathan Adendorf – to injuries and brought in unfamiliar faces in Aussie newcomer Rory Arnold and youngster Patrick O'Brien.
Arnold would pack down alongside Hilton Lobberts in the scrums, with O'Brien providing depth from the replacement bench.
“There have been many disruptions during the week – during the whole competition actually,” Griquas coach Pote Human said.
“We lost Ligtoring in week one, and Jaco and Jonathan in the same week. It has been difficult preparing for the game but we trust in those players who have come into the side.
“They need to produce the goods against Free State.”
The Cheetahs have not lost to Griquas, in the Currie Cup, since way back in 2009.
Griquas travel to the City of Roses not just to rewrite history, but to try and regain their momentum after beating the Sharks in Durban in the final minutes of their first match.
“We are expecting nothing less than a full out effort from the Cheetahs,” Pote said.
“They are a difficult side to beat on their home turf and we know it is going to be no picnic on Saturday.
“We did well to beat the Sharks in week one, and came close to beating Western Province last weekend. If we can play with the same character on Saturday that we produced against them, we can definitely beat the Cheetahs in their own back yard.” – Sapa