Boland coach Hawies Fourie ‘nervous’ about Cheetahs homecoming in Bloemfontein

Boland Cavaliers captain Thurlow Marsh (left), centre Xavier Mitchell (middle) and prop Nicholas Duhwa show off the new jersey they will be playing in against the Cheetahs. Photo: Supplied

Boland Cavaliers captain Thurlow Marsh (left), centre Xavier Mitchell (middle) and prop Nicholas Duhwa show off the new jersey they will be playing in against the Cheetahs. Photo: Supplied

Published Mar 22, 2024


When the Harley Davidson motorcycles roar next to the Free State Stadium tonight, new Boland Cavaliers coach Hawies Fourie will still get those goosebumps he felt as the Cheetahs coach – but he knows they are there to intimidate his team.

Fourie returns to Bloemfontein in the new SA Cup tournament, where the Cavaliers will face the Cheetahs in a baptism of fire for Fourie after he left the City of Roses to return home to the Boland. Kick-off is at 6pm.

The Wellington-based team have set themselves lofty ambitions in the new event, with the end goal being that of qualifying for the Currie Cup in 2025.

“I will definitely be nervous on Friday. I would’ve loved to not play them first up, but maybe a couple of games into the tournament,” Fourie said about facing his former side.

“But it is what it is now. It’s going to be difficult to go back there and sit in the opposition coaches’ box and changeroom. So, it’s something I will take in my stride.

“On the field, we are ready to play. We want to measure ourselves and where we are as a team. So, this will be a good test first up.”

According to Fourie, they know it will be a difficult challenge up in the Free State, but if they can show fight and commitment to each other on the field, they will be well on their way to success.

Fourie has technically only been in charge for 22 days, but he has been impressed with his new players.

And although he isn’t expecting them to click immediately under his tutelage, he would like to see them grow steadily over their first few games.

They face the Cheetahs, Griffons, another Currie Cup side, and the Valke – last year’s First Division finalists – in the first three games.

“We’ve worked on quite a few things during the last month and we want to implement it in the game. But it won’t be easy. The Cheetahs are also preparing for a European Challenge Cup game against Clermont, so we believe they will put out their strongest side (against Boland),” Fourie said.

“We want to measure ourselves and see where we are. It’s still a long road to the next SA Cup, which will be the important one.

“So, over the next 12 months, I want to grow the squad and give opportunities to players to see who can make it.”

Cavaliers captain Thurlow Marsh said they expect the Cheetahs to try to get the ascendancy among the forwards, and it will be up to him and his fellow loose forwards to lead the pack in stopping them from gaining momentum.

Both sides possess exciting runners, so whoever thrives on front-foot ball can set them loose for some running rugby.

“We would’ve liked to kick things off at home – we’ve made Boland Stadium our fortress – but this is the cards we’ve been dealt,” Marsh said.

“If we can stand our ground up front, the Boland is known for having exceptional backline players. So, we can match them at the back.

“We must do our work up front, and we will have a good match.”

Boland Cavaliers Team

15 Ashlon Davids, 14 Riaan Louw, 13 Xavier Mitchell, 12 Jurick Lewis, 11 Cornell Engelbrecht, 10 Darian Hock, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Thurlow Marsh (captain), 7 Emile Booysen, 6 Sauleigh Arendse, 5 Marlyn Williams, 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Nicholas Duhwa, 2 Emile Booysen, 1 Andrew Beerwinkel.

Bench: 16 Sydney Tobias, 17 Gerrit Bester, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Carl Truter, 20 Taine-Randall Booysen, 21 Gift Dlamini, 22 Bentley Geldenhuys, 23 Garth April.

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