No smoke and mirrors

Cheetahs coach Rassie Erasmus has dismissed claims by Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe that he will play Willem de Waal at flyhalf in Saturday’s Vodacom Super 14 match at Newlands.

“I’m definitely not trying to play tricks on the Stormers by naming Meyer [Bosman] at flyhalf and then replacing him with Willem at the last moment,” Erasmus told keo.co.za. “Willem will get a start soon in the competition, but not on Saturday. I’m very happy with Meyer at 10 and the team is gelling nicely, so I don’t want to disrupt things. But we are only a third of the way through the Super 14, and Willem will get a chance to play.”

However, while ruling him out of the starting XV, Erasmus said De Waal could come into the squad if Gaffie du Toit fails a late fitness test.

“Gaffie is 60/40 at the moment, and if he isn’t able to play, Willem will come onto the bench,” he said.

The Cheetahs go into the Newlands game as firm favourites, after beating WP in two consecutive Currie Cup semi-finals in Cape Town.

“Obviously we are confident of winning again, but you can’t read too much into history,” said Erasmus. “A bounce of the ball, a refereeing decision … all those things can turn a game around.”

Erasmus said the Stormers would be tough to beat on their home turf, despite their recent form.

“I’ve felt really sorry for the Stormers. They’ve come close to winning three out of their last four games. There’s a fine line between winning and losing in the Super 14, and they’ve had some bad luck. I thought they gave a quality performance against the Hurricanes, up until the 78th minute. We certainly won’t be underestimating them.”

Saturday’s game against the Stormers is crucial for the Bloem Boys considering their remaining schedule.

The Cheetahs play the Reds at home next weekend, before heading overseas where they’ll meet the Waratahs, Brumbies, Crusaders and Chiefs – three of whom are expected to make the semi-finals.