Milestones for Cheetahs prop Coetzee and Kings loosie Lerm

Milestones for Cheetahs prop Coetzee and Kings loosie Lerm

Two players will reach a rugby milestone as their respective South African franchises begin crucial PRO14 tours of Ireland and Wales this weekend.

Cheetahs prop Aranos Coetzee and Southern Kings loose forward Ruan Lerm will both rack up their 50th appearances this weekend as both teams chase crucial log points. Coetzee will accompany his Cheetahs team to face defending champions Leinster, who are on an unbelievable unbeaten run this season while Lerm’s Kings’ side head to take on Munster on Friday night as they try to shake off the setback of two derby losses to the Cheetahs a fortnight ago.

Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie believes that Coetzee is a key member of his side at the moment. The calmness he provides in the set piece has seen it become one of their attacking weapons, and certainly one they will need to use on Saturday in Dublin if they are to defy the odds and end Leinster’s run.

Fourie said the duo of Coetzee and Luan de Bruin, who played his 50th game two weeks ago, give the Cheetahs a significant advantage in the scrums

“Aranos is one of the best scrummagers in the competition and that helps us a lot. Many teams scrum for penalties in the competition and that puts you under pressure if your tighthead is not up to standard.

“The big thing there for me is Luan (de Bruin) is very close to Aranos. I think in the scrum Aranos is better but in general play Luan is an exceptional tighthead, so they complement each other,” Fourie explained.

While they will be firm underdogs given Leinster’s form, Fourie believes that the key factor for his team is their attitude and whether they give themselves a chance against a Leinster side missing some Irish internationals.

“I think it is important to approach every game in the right way. If you have already lost the game in your head before you get out onto the field, then why even travel? Why not stay in Bloemfontein?

“We are going there with the knowledge they are the strongest team in the competition, but we know if we pitch up on the day, then we will have a chance to win. And if you don’t think you have a chance to win, then you might as well not be in this competition.”

While the venue at RDS Stadium is a new one for his side, they believe their own form will be a closer determination of how they will fare.

“Most of the venues are new for us, so we don’t focus on that too much. We focused last week on what we wanted to do on the field. We can’t think too much about what they are going to do, we have to play well and apply pressure on them and that will give us the chance to win the game.”

Southern Kings

Lerm’s side are looking to bounce back from their loss to the Cheetahs and believe they will be able to surprise Munster on their home ground, especially as a number of Irish internationals are not available.

The game in Port Elizabeth last year was a close one that the Kings believe they should have won and that gives them confidence going into this fixture.

Lerm will be looking to contribute for his team in helping them achieve this aim, and was “humbled and excited” by the news of his 50th cap.

“It is something special for me. and When you start playing you look up to the greats and see them getting their 50th and 100th caps, so it is something that is humbling and something I’m looking forward to,” he said.

♦ The Kings face Munster at 21:30 on Friday night (Live on Supersport 1) while the Cheetahs take on Leinster at 16:25 on Saturday. (Live on Supersport2).