Oupa Mohoje off the stoep and back in the Cheetahs fold

Veteran loose forward Oupa Mohoje has been working hard on the training ground and has been included in the Cheetahs squad for their upcoming Challenge Cup matches. Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

Veteran loose forward Oupa Mohoje has been working hard on the training ground and has been included in the Cheetahs squad for their upcoming Challenge Cup matches. Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

Published Jan 10, 2024


Can Oupa Mohoje turn back the clock?

The utility forward has had a rough time of it with injuries throughout his career, but after some hard work on the training ground, he was included in the Cheetahs’ squad for their two-match Challenge Cup tour of Europe this week.

The Bloemfontein side were scheduled to arrive in Amsterdam yesterday ahead of Sunday’s clash against French club Pau at the 5 000-capacity NRCA Stadium in the Dutch capital (kick-off 3pm, SA time).

Coach Hawies Fourie’s outfit are at the top of Pool 1 of the Challenge Cup after victories over Zebre and the Sharks, and have had three weeks off ahead of the Pau encounter.

Fourie recalled former Springbok flank Mohoje this week, as well as veteran prop Schalk Ferreira and fit-again wing Munier Hartzenberg as additions to the matchday 23 that beat the Sharks 32-29 in Bloemfontein on December 17.

The 33-year-old Mohoje – who earned 19 Test caps between 2014 and 2018 – will hope to make the most of his chance on the two-week trip, with the Cheetahs also taking on Oyonnax in France.

“He (Mohoje) played well against Pau in France last year,” Fourie told the media before the squad’s departure on Monday. “He scored the winning try in that game (as the Cheetahs won 21-16).

“However, he was cited, banned for two weeks and then he was injured.

“Players like Friedle (Olivier), Jeandré (Rudolph) and Gideon (van der Merwe) took their chances.

“It was difficult for him (Mohoje) and Sibabalo Qoma to find their way back into the team.

“However, I am happy with where Oupa is, and I am sure he will take his chance if he gets it.”

Meanwhile, Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen has opted to keep most of his first-choice players at home for the long trip to France to take on Montpellier in Saturday’s Challenge Cup clash (kick-off 10pm, SA time).

Of the starting XV in last weekend’s 20-18 URC win over the Sharks, only lock Darrien Landsberg will be travelling up north this week.

The Lions’ big guns will be resting ahead of the Ospreys encounter at Ellis Park on January 21, which is followed by a match against the Bulls at Loftus a week later.

Former Stormers flyhalf Kade Wolhuter makes his comeback from a long-term knee injury, although Jordan Hendrikse is likely to wear the No 10 jersey in France.

Coach Van Rooyen will hope that the likes of Gianni Lombard, Andries Coetzee and Manuel Rass can capitalise if the forwards – with hooker Jaco Visagie captaining the Lions – can secure enough possession up front.

The other South African team in the Challenge Cup, the Sharks, will hope to snap a three-match losing streak in all competitions when they face Oyonnax at Kings Park on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Coach John Plumtree’s battling side have suffered losing margins of three points, one point and two points in their games against the Cheetahs (32-29), Stormers (16-15) and Lions (20-18), and will hope to finally find their rhythm against the French club.

Cheetahs Tour Squad

Forwards: Rynier Bernardo, Aranos Coetzee, Schalk Ferreira, Marko Janse van Rensburg, Daniel Maartens, Oupa Mohoje, Friedle Olivier, Sibabalo Qoma, Jeandré Rudolph, Victor Sekekete (captain), Alulutho Tshakweni, Hencus van Wyk, Gideon van der Merwe, Marnus van der Merwe, Louis van der Westhuizen, Laurence Victor, Carl Wegner.

Backs: Evardi Boshoff, Reinhardt Fortuin, Munier Hartzenberg, Cohen Jasper, Daniel Kasende, Rewan Kruger, George Lourens, Tapiwa Mafura, Ali Mgijima, Ruan Pienaar.

Lions Tour Squad

Forwards: Morné Brandon, Izan Esterhuizen, Corné Fourie, Travis Gordon, Darrien Landsberg, Morgan Naudé, Etienne Oosthuizen, Heiko Pohlmann, JC Pretorius, Raynard Roets, Hanru Sirgel, Ruan Smith, Ruhan Straeuli, Conrad van Vuuren, Jaco Visagie (captain).

Backs: Andries Coetzee, Erich Cronjé, Boldwin Hansen, Jordan Hendrikse, Rynhardt Jonker, Gianni Lombard, Johan Mulder, Stean Pienaar, Manuel Rass, Nico Steyn, Kade Wolhuter.


IOL Sport