Auck­land’s Blues would be Chee­tahs’s joy in Bloem to­day

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

THE CHEE­TAHS will re­write the his­tory books if they man­age to beat the Blues in their Su­per Rugby en­counter at Free State Sta­dium to­day.

Should they win, the hosts will se­cure a place in the knock­out stages of the pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion for the first time since be­com­ing a fran­chise in 2006.

With a bye next week and the re­sult­ing four points al­ready se­cured, the Chee­tahs will ce­ment their place among the top six sides if they can beat the Blues, who last won in Bloem­fontein in 2010.

Af­ter their pre­vi­ous bye, the hosts came back and lost valu­able mo­men­tum af­ter a de­feat to the Hur­ri­canes, only to re­deem them­selves a week later against the Reds.

The same sce­nario now presents it­self, with their break in play dur­ing the in­ter­na­tional win­dow re­sult­ing in a ham­mer­ing against the Storm­ers in Cape Town last week.

“It had been a prob­lem of ours in the past,” said Chee­tahs coach Naka Drotske.

“We had the bye and then re­turned only to play with a lack of in­ten­sity.

“This is a trend that we saw last sea­son as well. We’ve put last week’s loss against the Storm­ers be­hind us and hope­fully we can come back from that.

“One pos­i­tive is that we have al­ways hit back af­ter los­ing that first game fol­low­ing the bye.

“We have to do that again this week­end. Any­thing but vic­tory is not ne­go­tiable.”

If the Chee­tahs were able to progress to the play-offs, Drotske said they would not make the same mis­take by leav­ing things late with re­gards to prepa­ra­tion.

While they would en­joy the bye next week, Drotske was adamant that his side would not be caught by the dreaded

On TV Chee­tahs v Blues

3pm on SS1 bye curse again.

“We’ve made some prepa­ra­tions. If we do progress to the knock­out round, we will be back on Thurs­day prac­tis­ing, even though we have the week off.

“But for now we fo­cus solely on the Blues game. We don’t want to lose and be de­pen­dent on other teams’ re­sults to see if we make it or not.” – Sapa Cheethas: Hen­nie Daniller; Wil­lie le Roux, Jo­hann Sadie, Robert Eber­sohn, Ray­mond Rhule; Ri­aan Smit, Piet van Zyl; Philip van der Walt, Lap­pies Labuschagne, Hein­rich Brüs­sow; Lig­tor­ing Land­man, Lood de Jager; Lourens Adri­aanse, Adri­aan Strauss (cap­tain), Coe­nie Oosthuizen. Re­serves: Ryno Barnes, Trevor Nyakane, Waltie Ver­meulen, Boom Prinsloo, Sarel Pre­to­rius, El­gar Watts, Rayno Ben­jamin

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