Cheetahs rely on pack power

Cheetahs captain Ryno van der Merwe wants his side to dominate the Chiefs up front during Friday’s Vodacom Super 14 match.

Despite losing away to the Sharks and Cats at the beginning of the tournament, the Chiefs have been far more impressive at home, drawing 26-all with the Bulls and beating the Stormers 30-20.

“I’m watching tapes of the Chiefs match against the Stormers in my hotel room at the moment,” Van der Merwe told from Hamilton. “According to our stats, they are the third best line-out side in the competition, which is a strength of ours. They also like to disrupt the set pieces and slow down opposition ball.”

Stormers captain Schalk Brits complained about the Chiefs’ illegal tactics at the breakdown after his side’s defeat, but the Cheetahs aren’t too concerned.

“We want to outplay them up front and dominate the set pieces, which will make it difficult for them to get on top,” he said. “We’ll bash it up with our forwards in the loose and send the ball wide if there’s an opportunity to score.”

The Cheetahs also aim to make their first-time tackles, an area where they slipped up badly against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

“We were in the game five minutes before half-time and then gave away two soft tries,” said Van der Merwe. “Our defence wasn’t great and it’s something we’ve worked hard on in training this week. We want to put things right against the Chiefs.”

Van der Merwe will play at No 8 on Friday, with lock Barend Pieterse moving to flank at the expense of Ockie van Zyl and Kabamba Floors wearing the No 6 jersey ahead of Frans Viljoen.

Corniel van Zyl and Cobus Grobler make up the Cheetahs’ second row while Ollie le Roux will alternate with Os du Randt at loosehead prop.

Among the backs, Keith Lowen replaces Barry Goodes at inside centre, with Giscard Pieters returning to the right wing.

Cheetahs team to play Chiefs:

15 Bevin Fortuin, 14 Giscard Pieters, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Keith Lowen, 11 Gaffie du Toit, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Falie Oelschig, 8 Ryno van der Merwe (c), 7 Barend Pieterse, 6 Kabamba Floors, 5 Corniel van Zyl, 4 Cobus Grobler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Ollie le Roux.
Subs: 16 Wian du Preez, 17 Os du Randt, 18 Ockie van Zyl, 19 Gareth Krause, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Eddie Fredericks.

By Simon Borchardt