Cheetahs coach smiling


Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské admits he has a “nice” problem with eight of his nine loose forwards available for selection.


The successful return of Frans Viljoen and Juan Smith means the coach now has eight of his nine loose forwards available as they prepare for their pre-season game against the Bulls in Polokwane on Saturday.

Only Heinrich Brüssow (shoulder) remains sidelined, while four stalwarts Viljoen, Smith, Philip van der Walt and Lappies Labuschagné all made successful returns against the Stormers last week.

The other loose forwards in the Cheetahs squad are Davon Raubenheimer, Boom Prinsloo, Tertius Daniller and Marnus Schoeman.

Raubenheimer and Prinsloo started in the 27-26 win over the Stormers last week, with Viljoen, Smith and Labuschagné on the bench.

According to the Volksblad website, Drotské is likely to again pick Smith on the bench for Saturday’s clash. The 31-year-old Smith featured for 29 minutes against the Stormers after missing two years of rugby due to an Achilles injury.

Drotské must now pick his best four for Saturday’s clash, with the coach admitting he has a bit of a selection “problem”.

“We now have to pick four loose forwards out of everyone available. I didn’t bargain on Frans and Juan being ready (at this stage) and it’s definitely a nice problem to have,” Drotské quipped.

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  1. I find it odd that the positions of flank and lock are not interchanged far more often.

    Juan Smith can probably play 3 more years as a lock?

  2. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 12:03 pm:

    Not a small lock at all.

    What is your issue with the size of players? Last year you said that JC janse van Rensburg is to small for test rugby when he was called up for the Boks. And the sevens players are ork’s(dwarfs) as you call them in your eyes.

    Size is only one attribute. Athleticism, speed, strength, high work rate ect is all attributes that makes Juan and other players valuable players. And he is a very good line out forward.

    Here is how Juan compares to highly successful similar sized international locks.

    Juan Smith

    Height 1.96 m
    Weight 112 kg

    Paul O’Connell

    Height 1.98 m
    Weight 110 kg

    Brad Thorn

    Height 195 cm
    Weight 116 kg

    Victor Matfield

    Height 2.0 m
    Weight 110 kg

  3. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 12:03 pm:
    And earlier this year the new u/20 Boks forwards was also too small for you. And if I recall correctly you called the back three ork’s even with Luther Obi() there.

    Like I said, the size of players is not their most important attribute.

  4. Reply to Vetgesmeerde Blits @ 2:14 pm:

    Firstly… if anyone can Juan can… and will have to…

    Secondly… I expect all ‘test’ quality players (particularly forwards) to have all the attributes on top of size… and other than a few freaks (like Thorn) I expect locks to be a min of 2m 115kgs as a given…

    Thirdly… JC JVR is a small loosehead, is not flash in the tight-loose and he was never capped in fact where is he now? Chadwick at the Sharks falls into this same category IMO…

    Fourthly as for U20 forwards… take one look at this year’s T5 compared to last years monsters who out-powered NZ… and as for the back-three I mentioned including centres like Geduld and Swiel… they ARE Orks… speed-bumps against the bigger teams if the balance is not right…

    I’ll give Dawie the benefit of the doubt as he was still mixing and matching back then and ‘fortunately’ has sent off a few to join the rest of Treu’s Orks (we saw what happened there)… and there is some power on offer in the centres and the WBHS power wing…

    As for Obi… it might be incorrect but my reference was his SA Rugby profile which lists him as 175cm 75kgs… smaller than Aplon… not going to gel with the other above-mentioned Orks…

  5. Yes, that is a well known statement but not always accurate. We are not talking about small players(Juan Smith and JC janse van Rensburg) here. The big players SA teams seem to pick is also not as a rule fast and agile. A guy like Pierre Spies is big, strong, fast and agile but a very average player.

    A loose forward of 108kg for instance is not really at a disadvantage to a 115kg loose forward. Duanne Vermeulen was a much better player when he was around 108kgs. He is now 116kg and doesn’t nearly have the same impact as when he could get around the park quicker. Arno Botha is 103kg but his speed and power makes up for any lack of bulk.
    Frans Steyn is another example, he was much better when he was around 100kgs.

    I am certainly no advocate for 75kg players, I am talking about big players that is seen as not big enough because of supporters and coaches obsession with size. Many players have become worst instead of better by bulking up too much.

    Heyneke Meyer’s pressured CJ Stander to convert to hooker because of his supposed lack of size(188cm, 108kg). CJ is twice the loose forward Pierre Spies is and it is a shame that he had to move to Ireland were he is valued as big enough for an international loose forward.

  6. If you expect locks to be 2m 115kgs, then Victor Matfield, Paul O’Connel and Brad Thorn is disqualified to name a few. Johan Ackerman was 198 and 111kg but stronger than any 120kg lock I have ever seen. I am not talking about freaks here, a large amount of top international locks doesn’t fit the 2m, 115kg criteria. To drop a size criteria and say that that is the cut-off point will never be accurate. That is why intensive strength, speed, explosive power and agility tests are done to determine a players physical capabilities. Size is only one criteria and in my view you put way too much emphasis on it.

    On JC Janse Van Rensburg, the only reason you gave for not rating him was his size, yet he has dominated more tightheads than any other SA looseheads I can think of the last 12 months. At 182m and 113kg(according to the Lions Website) he is an average sized loosehead(Exactly the same size as Heinke van der Merwe) but certainly not too small for test rugby.

    The smallest ork of the sevens team, Cecil Africa, was awarded the IRB sevens player of the year in 2011. The reasons for the sevens teams struggles lately has more to do with the vital so called orks, Cecil Africa and Branco du Preez injury’s than anything else.

    I might be wrong about Obi, he looks big on TV. The u/20 team of 2012 was more the exeption than the rule when it comes to the size of especially the forward pack. That doesn’t make the 2013 squad a bunch of dwarfs though.

    The size of a player is important, but not nearly as important as some make it.

  7. Reply to Vetgesmeerde Blits @ 5:55 pm:

    Aargh… just lost a very long post so in summary…

    As I said there will always be freaks it’s not as set in stone as I sounded… ie Thorne… no peer in gym strength and work-rate in world rugby… a machine… a freak… Vic Matfield… the best LO lock the world has ever seen (to be fair depending on what site you see his stats he makes my criteria) etc etc etc.

    Lion’s scrum stats were shite last year… so I’ll leave it at that…

    You seem to miss my point of ‘too many Orks’ ie the balance has got to be correct or expect to never ‘consistently’ make the important rounds ie semi’s and finals against the bigger sides like England, Samoa, NZ, Fiji as Treu has been prone to do for seasons now!

    Go and watch the important rounds and tell me who misses the most tackles and gets smashed off the ball regularly for all his play-making skills… yep Cecil Afrika.

    As for the U20’s I disagree the backs are apart from the 2012 squad… and I did say Theron could be forgiven so far as he’s been feeling out his squad…

    9 Ungerer- sniping fast, crisp pass, powerful, excellent boot… 90kg plus

    10 Pollard/Robert DP JR… all the skills, pace and power to make it to the next level… 90kgs plus

    12/13 Serfontein/Swanepoel… the ex Grey pairing, fast, strong, playmakers… 90kgs plus

    14 Tyler Fisher… super-quick, powerful, exceptional ball skills, can play anywhere in backline (was WBHS wing)… 90kgs plus

    And then simply fit in the Ork play-makers like Swiel, Kolbe et al around them…

    ‘Balance’ always been the key with Orks… Theron didn’t have that in his first outing when I made that comment and Treu hasn’t consistently got that correct in years…

  8. The news is bad for small players. Size is just too easy a vulnerability for opposing teams to exploit. As rugby is getting more professional we’ll see less and less small players. Ten years from now, “orks” will be all but extinct.

    Tennis players are getting taller. So it seems are sprinters and swimmers. NFL quarterbacks, a position where size is certainly not the most important attribute, the average is now 190cm and 100kg, with a few monsters nearing 200cm and 120kg. Smaller players have to make up with lots of additional skill and speed and teams have to adjust to accommodate them. Mostly it is just not worth the risk.