Ruggaworld

Cheetahs 20, Lions 16

Both teams enhanced their play-off prospects with crucial wins last week, but the most ominous signs came from the Lions camp.

Rugby365

They were written off after a changing of the guard in the coaching department and some early results could easily have been interpreted as a team on a slippery slope to mediocrioty.

But with a coaching panel that includes new head coach Hans Coetzee, World Cup-winning former Springbok coach Jake White, Wimpie Vermeulen, Alan Miles and Russell Winter, the Lions showed some glimpses of they can really do.

They may still lack the consistency, but the manner in which they dismantled the Bulls last week is a clear indication that things are indeed improving in Johannesburg.

As White pointed out, they lost their first game to the Bulls and won the second against a Bulls team that was far better equipped than in the First Round game.

“We have dropped some league points along the way, but we are confident that we’ll reach the play-offs,” White said.

“We know it is a tough road ahead, especially with some of the other teams still to get their Springboks back. But nothing is impossible,” he added.

Talk in the Cheetahs camp is also about play-offs. After losing their first four matches, they have won the last four and – just like the Lions – are just four points off the pace of a top-four finish.

With six more rounds to go, it is all to play for.

However, the Cheetahs are far more depleted, through injuries, than the Lions.

The Lions’ losses include captain courageous Cobus Grobbelaar and suspended lock Willem Stoltz.

However, the Cheetahs will be without the services of quality players like Robert Ebersohn (ankle injury), Hendro Scholtz (head knock), Johan Wessels (ankle), Danwel Demas (ankle). These injuries follow the loss of other key personnel like Tewis de Bruyn, Meyer Bosman, Lionel Mapoe and Francois Uys.

Yet, coach Naka Drotské remains hopeful.

“Saturday’s game against the Lions and the next week against Western Province are vital in terms of our season,” Drotské said.

He spoke of the confidence the team gained since their early losses and felt that will carry the Cheetahs through.

rugby365 Prediction: This is a tough one to call. Both teams have showed improved form, but both could so easily have an off day. We feel the Cheetahs are just too diluted, through injuries, and the Lions will sneak a win – by 10 points or less.

Teams:

Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 JW Jonker, 13 Phillip Snyman, 12 Corné Uys, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Jean-Pierre Joubert, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Frans Viljoen, 6 Johan Wessels, 5 David de Villiers, 4 Nico Breedt, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Izak van der Westhuizen, 19 Chris Dry, 20 Tertius Carse, 21 Louis Strydom, 22 Lionel Mapoe.

Golden Lions: 15 Earl Lewis; 14 Dusty Noble, 13 Alwyn Hollenbach, 12 Pieter Engelbrecht, 11 Johan Jackson; 10 Herkie Kruger, 9 Jano Vermaak; 8 Willem Alberts (captain), 7 Franco Van der Merwe, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 Nico Luus, 3 Gert Muller, 2 Hans van Dyk, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Derek Harwood, 17 Kevin Buys, 18 Wouter Moore, 19 Todd Clever, 20 Johan Van Deventer, 21 Doppies La Grange, 22 Ruan Boshoff.

Facebook Comments

One Comment

  1. avatar

    WiLLem

    September 6, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    :applause:

    Congrats to the players and coaching staFF!

    5 from five

    the next 3 games to be crucial!

    ReplyReply

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply