Cheetahs to feel Griquas' fury

Wed, 13 Aug 2014 12:28
Large hilton lobberts griquas

INTERVIEW: Injuries and disciplinary hearings disrupted the Griquas' build-up as they look to bounce back from a first-round Currie Cup loss.

Injuries and disciplinary hearings disrupted the Griquas' build-up as they look to bounce back from a first-round Currie Cup loss.

Hawies Fourie, speaking to rugby365 ahead of the Central Unions derby against Free State Cheetahs, confirmed that Springbok Hilton Lobberts is struggling with a calf injury and wing Danie Dames re-injured the medial ligaments in his knee.

"They won't play [against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein] on Saturday," Fourie said, adding that it has been "a bit disruptive".

"However, it is part of the game and you have to make adjustments."

The other disruption was the disciplinary hearing of centre Jonathan Francke, who was red-carded for a spear tackle inside the first 10 minutes of their 24-31 loss to the Sharks last week.

Although Francke was cleared at a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday, he was only named on the bench - with PJ Vermeulen staring in the No.13 jersey. Francke will play off the replacement bench this week.

Edries Arendse will start on the right wing in place of the injured Dames in the only other backline change.

There are two changes to the starting pack - RJ Liebenberg playing in the No.7 jersey in the absence of Lobberts and Ewald Van Der Westhuizen replacing Nicolaas van Dyk at tighthead prop, after the youngster struggled in the scrums last week. Van Dyk drops down to the replacement bench.

Martin Bezuidenhout returns from injury to provide cover at hooker on the bench, while Burger Schoeman takes the place vacated by the promotion of Liebenberg to the starting XV.

Fourie said he was looking for his team to build on their performance in the last 20 minutes last week, when they came within a converted try of another upset against the Sharks.

Griquas and the Cheetahs, as Super Rugby franchise partners, know each other well.

However, the Griquas mentor felt that the Cheetahs will change quite a few things.

"Rory [Duncan] and Franco [Smith] were not involved much in Super Rugby as coaches the last four to five years," Fourie told rugby365.

"No doubt they will do their own thing and stick to what they believe in.

"We obviously know each other's players and strengths very well. However, each team will focus on their own game more than the opposition."

With both Griquas and Cheetahs having lost first up in the Currie Cup competition the two teams will be determined to bounce back immediately.

"It is vital in any competition to start well," he said, adding: "Our goal is to win every game we play in and this [coming] weekend is an opportunity for us to rectify the mistakes of last week."

Griquas: 15 Nico Scheepers, 14 Edries Arendse, 13 PJ Vermeulen, 12 Wayne Stevens (captain), 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 RJ Liebenberg, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Willem Serfontein, 3 Ewald Van Der Westhuizen, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Nicolaas van Dyk, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Burger Schoeman, 20 Abrie Griesel, 21 Marais Schmidt, 22 Jonathan Francke.

Date: Saturday, August 16
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistant referees: Lesego Legoete, Francois de Bruin
TMO: JJ Wagner

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Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 7 7 0 0 34
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
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Pumas 7 0 0 7 5
EP Kings 7 0 0 7 1