Cheetahs to target Cane scrums, maul
The Toyota Cheetahs have minced no bones about how they want to attack the Hurricanes in their Vodacom Super Rugby match on Friday night – in the scrums and with the rolling maul.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske made one change from the side who beat the Kings a fortnight ago before going on well-earned rest week last week.
But now that they have to return to action against one of the most dangerous attacking sides in the competition, Drotske has laid down where he sees the Hurricanes' weaknesses after watching the Bulls' 48-14 mauling of them at Loftus Versfeld last week.
Frans Viljoen will come in for Lappies Labuschagne in the only change to the team – but not one that has overly crippled the team, despite Labuschagne’s good form this season.
“Especially at lineout time, Lappies was crucial and in contesting the opposition lineout,” Drotske explained.
“To lose him is a blow, and he will be ready for next week, but I do think a guy like Frans suits playing New Zealand teams, because he is very physical and that is what you need if you want to beat them.”
Drotske did point to an entertaining game from both sides, but was clear just where he feels the Cheetahs should target the Hurricanes.
“I do think it will be an expansive game. There is no rain and the way the Hurricanes play is pretty much like we do. They try to attack from their own half when it is on and they keep the ball in hand. Counter attacks are one of their strengths. Hopefully it won’t be a high-scoring game from both teams. Our defence is a lot better,” he added.
“Looking at last week and the weeks before, at scrum time and their stopping of the maul is suspect, so we will like to attack them there. But other than that, you have to keep the ball through phases and they have conceded a few tries. If you manage to keep the ball through five or six or seven phases, you tend to find reward. It is very important that we keep the ball through these phases.”
Coenie Oosthuizen starts at loosehead again and will move to tighthead in the second half to make room for Trevor Nyakane. But as Drotske explains, Oosthuizen personifies the grunt of the attack he is looking for in targeting the scrum, and hopes that if Oosthuizen fires, it will be half the battle won.
“Coenie takes a lot of stuff personal, when he runs on to the pitch he takes it personal. I think it is a good contest, and we will target their scrum. We do think it is a weakness and Coenie will play loosehead and after halftime move over to the tighthead. “
The Cheetahs are very much still in the running to win the SA conference, and will need to win their home games if they are to continue their exceptional run this season.
CHEETAHS TEAM: Hennie Daniller, Willie le Roux, Johann Sadie, Robert Ebersohn, Raymond Rhule, Burton Francis, Piet van Zyl, Philip van der Walt, Frans Viljoen, Heinrich Brussow, Francois Uys, Lood de Jager, Lourens Adriaanse, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: Ryno Barnes, Trevor Nyakane, Ligtoring Landman, Boom Prinsloo, Sarel Pretorius, Elgar Watts, Rayno Benjamin.