Cheetahs lose captain for opener

February 16, 2011
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The Cheetahs were dealt a cruel early-season blow when captain Juan Smith was ruled out of the Super Rugby showdown with the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

Jan de Koning – Rugby365

Smith, who missed a large portion of the 2010 season through injury and personal issues, suffered a calf strain in the pre-season build-up and has failed a fitness test.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské told rugby365.com that Philip van der Walt will start in the No.7 jersey and hooker Adriaan Strauss – as he did last season – will take over the captaincy.

The coach said the loss of a “world class player” like Smith is a big loss, but he has faith that Van der Walt will be up for the task against the highly rated Sharks loose forwards.

“Philip [van der Walt] showed last year he can do the job when he had to stand in for Juan last year,” Drotské said.

Other noteworthy selections for the opening round of the season will see Hennie Daniller start at fullback ahead of Springbok tourist Riaan Viljoen, Philip Burger returning on the win after a stint in France,  Ryno Benjamin getting the left wing berth, Sevens Bok Kabamba Floors starting at No.8, and new recruit Wilhelm Steenkamp starting at lock.

The Cheetahs coach admitted that taking on the Currie Cup champions, the Sharks, in the opening round is a tall order.

However, he is confident that his team is up for the task.

“I would much rather start with a tough game, than get off to a slow start. This way you know you have to get out the blocks very quickly,” he told rugby365.com.

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Philip Burger, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Ryno Benjamin, 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Kabamba Floors, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Frans Viljoen, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Kobus Calldo, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Ashley Johnson, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Riaan Viljoen.

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7 Comments

  1. avatar Morné says:
    February 16th, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    That is one SuperBru pick sorted at least. Sharks it is

  2. avatar Boertjie says:
    February 16th, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Looks like a good team.
    With the exception of Shields’ lovechild at 13.

  3. avatar Morné says:
    February 16th, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Toyota is going to be announced as the Cheetahs sponsor.

  4. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    February 16th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Reply to Morné @ 1:20 pm:

    Indeed…

  5. avatar WiLLem says:
    February 16th, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    AdriAAn StrauSS is a very gOOde captain

    PhiLLip Vd Walt aint tOO shaBBy either.

    Yes- JuanSmith does give you that extra mongrel & chutpaz

    But bet against the Orangemen in DeBBen at your own peril.

    Reply to Morné @ 1:48 pm:

    So how com the paper were redrawn? those that was trashed

    or was the “sauces” sucking from the wrong tit?

    or ssmokin Labrador?

  6. avatar the cheetahs are pumas! says:
    February 16th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    i’d prefer strauss as my captain over juan anyday.

  7. avatar DavidS says:
    February 16th, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Jis dis maar ‘n kak span as jy my vra…

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