'Rested' Boks to fire up Cheetahs
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské will lean on the leadership qualities of Adriaan Strauss as his team chases third place on the Currie Cup standings.
Free State Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské will lean on the leadership qualities of Adriaan Strauss as his team chases third place on the Currie Cup standings.
The Cheetahs host the Blue Bulls in Bloemfontein on Saturday in the final round a league action - a match that is a knock-out game of sorts.
The Bulls must win, with a four-try bonus point and deny the Cheetahs a bonus point of any kind, to ensure they advance.
The Cheetahs need just a solitary bonus point to book their place in the semifinals.
With so much riding on the encounter, it is not surprising that Drotské will rush back his returning Springboks - Strauss and prop Coenie Oosthuizen.
And both are expected to feature in the starting XV on Saturday.
"We are very happy about the return of Coenie [Oosthuizen] and Adriaan [Strauss]," Drotské told this website.
"They will make a huge difference to our team, especially Adriaan [Strauss], who was our captain in Super Rugby.
"The guys look up to him and it is great to have him back."
Drotské confirmed that both will go straight back into the starting XV, although there is still some uncertainty whether Oosthuizen will play loosehead prop or his new preferred position of tighthead.
"Both of them are well rested," the Cheetahs coach said.
"Adriaan did not play in all the Tests and some of the Bok games he rested.
"Coenie, most of the time, played just 20 or 25 minutes for the Boks.
"Neither of them are overplayed and both are keen to play, for me that is the most important."
The Cheetahs mentor told this website he must still make a call about how he will use his two Bok props - Trevor Nyakane and Oosthuizen.
"We had a split session of line-outs and scrums [on Tuesday]," Drotské said, adding: "The team will only be finalised on Wednesday.
"The advantage is that Trevor and Coenie, who are both loosehead props, can also both play at tighthead - that gives us plenty of options."
The Cheetahs don't have any major injury issues, with utility back Riaan Smit likely to return from his calf injury only next week and hooker Hercu Liebenberg out this week with a rib injury he suffered against Griquas at the weekend.
Bok Sevens flyer Rayno Benjamin is back from his hamstring injury.
By Jan de Koning