Springbok legend and now Cheetahs scrum gury, Os du Randt, believes the Bulls are a far better team now than the one that suffered a shock defeat to the Cheetahs in the final in 2005 at Loftus.
Hendrik Cronjé – Sport24
The Blue Bulls team that will take on the Cheetahs in Saturday’s Currie Cup final is stronger than the one that played against the Free State in 2005. That is the view of former Springbok prop and Cheetahs scrum coach Os du Randt.
He believes the Bulls are the overwhelming favourites for Saturday’s final as they have a number of world class players in their ranks.
“The Bulls are more mature and experienced than they were in 2005,” said Du Randt.
“They are playing with practically the same squad and are now a better team.”
Wynand Olivier (centre), Bryan Habana (wing), Morné Steyn (flyhalf), Fourie du Preez (scrumhalf), Pedrie Wannenburg (flank), Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw (all locks) and Heini Adams (scrumhalf) were all involved in the 2005 final.
“The Bulls are also in the favourable position that they have played in Super14 finals since 2005 and are the Super14 champions. They would have learned a lot from that,” said Du Randt.
By contrast, Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské has set about building a new team since taking over the reins from Rassie Erasmus in 2007.
The only Free Staters that were involved in the 2005 final that will play at Loftus on Saturday are loosehead prop Wian du Preez, replacement flank Kabamba Floors and centre Meyer Bosman.
Du Randt, Drotské and Barend Pieterse (lineout coach) have retired as players since the 2005 final, but are still involved in the Cheetahs’ coaching set-up.
Free State’s backline coach of 2005, Helgard Muller, is now the team manager. Like in 2005, the Cheetahs of this year are keeping their feet firmly on the ground and Du Randt therefore did not want to say much about their chances.
“One thing I can say about the current Cheetahs team is that it is peaking at the right time,” said Du Randt.