When local is not lekker

The Cheetahs are pleased not to have played any other South African Super 14 franchises in the build up to the new season.

While the Bulls have locked horns the Cats and Stormers, and will meet the Sharks at Sun City this weekend, Rassie Erasmus’s side have opted to prepare themselves against the Spears (48-0) and Western Force (29-19). They will also take on Italian club Benneton in Welkom on Saturday.

Cheetahs manager Naka Drotske, who is still involved with the team after lifting the Currie Cup last year, said he had been happy with their preparations so far.

“When most SA teams play each other it will always be very physical and they learn each others game plans, we wanted to avoid that,” he said.

Drotske also talked up the value of going all the way to Perth to play the Force.

“This was most definitely a worthwhile experience,” he said. “The key is the boost of confidence the players got out of the win because in the past local teams have really struggled over there.”

Drotske said there were no serious injuries, with prop Jannie du Plessis suffering a minor bump to his leg last Saturday.

The Cheetahs kick off their Super 14 campaign against the Bulls on 10 February.