Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Drotske keeps his chin up



The loss of Springbok flanker Juan Smith, along with other stalwarts, meant a shaky start to the Cheetahs' Super Rugby season, but coach Naka Drotske insists his players are still positive about their chances.

The Cheetahs are not regarded as one of the favourites for an upset this year, but will be looking to improve their record from the 2012 campaign.

"It is important that the guys stay injury free and hopefully that is achievable," Drotske said.

"It will be vital to our campaign, but we are looking much better than last season. The players are stronger and fitter and more eager than we were in last year's competition.

"That can make the difference this year."

The Free State outfit picked up two victories on their overseas tour last year and ended the series in 10th place overall.

They will be looking to produce more of the same abroad, touring as early as the second week this season.

It will be difficult though, as they will have to make do without the services of burly flanker Smith, who had announced his retirement from professional rugby after a prolonged Achilles injury forced his hand.

Along with Smith's absence, other players have ventured to greener pastures, the most notable being flyhalf Sias Ebersohn (Western Force), flanker Ashley Johnson (London Wasps), lock George Earl (Scarlets), prop WP Nel (Edinburgh) and centre Andries Strauss.

New signings, including former Boland flyhalf Elgar Watts and former Bulls centre Johann Sadie, will give the Cheetahs some additional depth in the backline.

The return from injury of star playmaker Johan Goosen in the number 10 jersey will provide another plus for the men from Bloemfontein.

Among the forwards, big prop Coenie Oosthuizen has overcome a neck injury, while Springbok flanker Heinrich Brussow was recovering well from a shoulder injury and could be ready to play by mid-season.

Squaring up against the Sharks at home before climbing on the plane for Hamilton was not the optimal scenario for the Cheetahs.

Drotske acknowledged that a huge effort was needed from his charges if they were to gain early momentum in the competition.

"We need to start strong. We have two difficult fixtures, playing the Sharks at home and the Chiefs in Hamilton the week after.

"Both played in last year's final and will be tough opponents so early on, but we are positive."

The Cheetahs host the Sharks at Free State Stadium on Saturday in their opening game of the Super Rugby campaign.

Shop

SA rugby Annual 2014
The 2014 SA Rugby Annual is the official record of the South African season and is widely considered to be one of the finest yearbooks in world rugby
R175.00
Victor - My Journey
As the most capped Springbok ever, Victor Matfield is a national hero who transcends rugby provincialism and has fans across the world
R198.44
The Poisoned Chalice
The Springboks have had several post-isolation coaches, and if they agree on nothing else, they will concur that everyone in the job suffers enormous pressure
R157.00
Coach - Marco Botha
At 34, Heyneke Meyer was fired as head coach of a Super Rugby team for the second time
R110.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Live Video Streaming

Spanish La Liga - Matchday 2: Valencia v Malaga
Sat, 30 Aug @ 05:00
Sat, 30 Aug @ 09:30
Sat, 30 Aug @ 11:15

Sports Talk



Brenden Nel
Perspective, a Bok fan's unwanted friend
For all the howls of anger that have come after the Salta great escape by the Boks, perhaps it is...

Brendan Venter
The measure of a man
For all the criticism I levelled against Argentina for their negative play in the Loftus Versfeld...

Tony Johnson
Finally we get some perspective
Not until we get into the next group of games will we have some perspective and context in which to...

Gavin Rich
Selection continuity may be Bok problem
I have subscribed to the assumption that the Springboks are benefitted playing the Pumas at the...