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Cheetahs hoping for trip to Pretoria

Tue, 09 Jul 2013 10:20
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It is obviously not the easiest games
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The Cheetahs will prefer a tougher game with less travel when they make their first-ever appearance in the Super Rugby play-offs.

It may not be the outcome the Bulls fans will be pleased with, but the Cheetahs would much rather prefer the Stormers to beat the Bulls and for the South African conference winners to finish third on the standings after this coming weekend's final round of league action.

The Cheetahs will watch from the sidelines, enjoying a bye, as the final weekend of drama unfolds.

And it won't be till after the final match, the Stormers against the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday, that they will know who their opponents will be for their historic appearance in the Super Rugby play-offs.

In the first round of the play-offs the teams ranked first and second will have byes. The team that finishes third will host the team that finishes sixth, while No.4 will be at home to No.5.

The Cheetahs will finish fifth or sixth. It means they could face the Brumbies, Bulls, Crusaders or Chiefs in the first round of the knock-out stages.

And they would prefer it to be the Bulls in Pretoria.

"It is between the Bulls at Loftus or the Brumbies in Canberra, as those will require the least amount of travelling," Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie said, when asked about their preferred destinations.

"It is obviously not the easiest games," he said, adding: "If we play [the Brumbies] in Canberra, we'll fly to Sydney and do all our preparations there till the Friday, before going on to Canberra.

"If we have to travel to New Zealand [for a match], it means you fly to Sydney first, from there to Auckland and from there to Christchurch or Hamilton.

"Not only is the travel time much longer, but the time zone changes and time difference take a bigger toll.

"That is why we would prefer the Brumbies in Canberra, or if we can play in South Africa, then Loftus will require so much less travelling."

The Cheetahs have no real injury concerns ahead of the play-offs and everybody that featured in the 34-13 win over the Blues last week will be available again - unless they get injured in training in the next fortnight.

The Cheetahs will have the first few days of the week off and then they start with preparations on Wednesday, mostly gym work.

From Thursday to Saturday they will have some on-field training sessions and next week they will start their build-up in all earnest.

By Jan de Koning

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