It’s a nice idea and it will certainly give the Cheetahs a way to stretch their legs since the inactivity following the Preparation series when they outplayed Eastern Province 71-12 on March 28.
It will be the Bloemfontein outfit’s first outing in two months – having last played when they beat the Eastern Province Elephants 71-12 in a Preparation Series match on March 28. That is a day short of nine weeks
Whether it will be a true match-up, remains to be seen. The Cheetahs should get their wishes of stretching their legs, practising their team-work and in the process winning by 30 points
▲ The Cheetahs, always a handful in the Currie Cup with two wins (2016 and 2019) over the past five seasons, will see this as preparation for this year’s competition. It is also an opportunity for Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie to look at some fringe players.
In fact, the coaches of the top four franchises, the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions, could perhaps also receive a nudge from some of the invitation players.
These teams will be stripped of some of their players playing test rugby against the Lions and in the Rugby Championship, as well as the best of the rest who will be used in the new PRO16 series that starts in August and overlaps with the Currie Cup competition.
Fourie will not just look at his own team, but also some players in the Invitation XV, including some from the Varsity Cup like JP Duvenhage, Shane Bolton (both Shimlas), Cohen Jasper and Derik Pretorius (both CUT), to bolster the Free State side.
Fourie admitted that the excitement of returning to the playing got a bit overwhelming in training this week, adding that the main focus would be on the “execution” of their plays.
“We want to keep it simple, but execute really well,” Fourie said, He stressed that phase play and keeping their shape on attack are of the most important aspects for the coaching staff.
The match, to be televised, will no doubt be entertaining in the tradition of the Cheetahs running game and with some exciting young players opposing them.
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Victor Sekekete, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Cameron Dawson. Replacements – from 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Coenraad van Vuuren, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Duncan Saal, 24 Chris Massyn, 25 Alulutho Tsakweni.
Invitation squad (starting XV to be confirmed on Friday) –
Dan Jooste (Sharks), Jean Droste (Cheetahs), Jeandré Labuschagne (Sharks), Johan du Toit (Western Province), Khwezi Mona (Sharks), Kwenzo Bloze (Western Province), Marnus van der Merwe (Cheetahs), Michael Kumberai (Sharks), Mihlali Mosi (Madibaz), Reinier Viljoen (Cheetahs Under-20), Roelof Smit (Lions), Ruhan Straeuli (Lions), Sazi Sandi (Western Province), WJ Steenkamp (Bulls), Derik Pretorius (CUT).
Corné Smit (Western Province), Dillon Smit (Lions), Inny-Christian Radebe (Eastern Province), Jamba Ulengo (Lions), Jason Alexander (Western Province), JP Duvenhage (Shimlas), Keegan Johannes (Bulls), Leolin Zass (Western Province), Richard Kriel (Bulls), Shane Bolton (Shimlas), Tristin Leyds (Western Province), Cohen Jasper (CUT).
Kick-off: 16.00 Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Paul Mente and Mpho Matsaung
TMO: Ben Crause.