Cheetahs keep their champions for two more years

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 07:43
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REACTION: Free State Cheetahs Director of Rugby Rory Duncan said the bulk of Currie Cup winning squad have been signed up until 2018.

An elated Duncan who was appointed to the post last year said the franchise's retention plan ensured that all the players, bar one, will be available for Super Rugby over the next two seasons.

"Every single one of the players, that played in the [Currie Cup] Final, except for one, is staying with us next year," Duncan said.

"We've retained all our players after losing just two players this season," said Duncan, who spent most of playing career in the Free State and Eastern Cape, playing for the Super Rugby and Currie Cup teams. 

He did not elaborate on which player is unavailable.

"We are very excited about our retention plan and being able to hang on to the guys. In fact, almost 30 of them have already signed up to 2018."

Duncan knows the feeling associated with winning the Currie Cup.

Back in 2007, he led the Cheetahs to victory in the final against the Golden Lions in Bloemfontein.

The Cheetahs match day squad that day included Marius Joubert, Willem de Waal, Duane Vermeulen, Richardt Strauss (now Ireland), Jannie du Plessis, Heinrich Brüssow, Lucas Floors and Meyer Bosman.

Over 40 000 spectators also attended the 2007 Final in Bloemfontein and Duncan said it raised a mixture of emotions as he absorbed the mood in the stadium before and after the final whistle.

"It was absolutely fantastic. I came out here before the game and saw the crowd and it raised all sorts of emotions," said Duncan.

"Those feelings just came rushing back to me again after the final whistle. I couldn't ask for a better feeling.

"The whole of Bloemfontein come together [this past Saturday]. In fact, the whole Free State province came to stand behind the team.

"It is something the coaches, the players deserve. You can't help but get excited about it.

"This is how we want to play in the years to come and I have to commend [coach] Franco Smith and the team.

"In the first half, we didn't convert when we opened up a lot of space because we didn't have the necessary finish,

"But the guys stuck to the game plan and when eventually space did open up we finished well in the second half."

The Cheetahs play their first three 2017 Super Rugby matches at home against the Lions, Bulls and Sunwolves - starting on Saturday, February 25.

Source: ANA

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 11h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 08h45 Melbourne
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
CURRIE CUP
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Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 8 8 0 0 39
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
Western Province 8 5 0 3 27
Golden Lions 8 5 0 3 26
Sharks 8 5 0 3 25
Griquas 8 4 0 4 21
Boland 8 2 0 6 11
Pumas 8 1 0 7 10
EP Kings 8 0 0 8 1