Ollie backs the champs

Veteran prop Ollie Le Roux is enthusiastic about the Cheetahs chances of winning two Currie Cups in a row, despite their mediocre Super 14 campaign.

The Cheetahs started promisingly in the regional tournament, but finished poorly, losing to the Blues and Force at home. Many said the Bloemfontein franchise could not be expected to do well as newcomers to the competition, but others were disappointed with their performance, as they are currently the champions of South African rugby.

Le Roux told keo.co.za that no one will be resting on their laurels in the 2006 Currie Cup.

“The past is the past,” he said when asked about their current Currie Cup champion status. “The only pressure to retain the trophy is the pressure we place on ourselves.

“The Super 14 was good for us in that we really developed as a team. Except for the Bulls, we beat the other three South Africa sides. That gave us a lot of confidence and shows our capabilities of winning the competition again.”

The reintroduction of the strength versus strength structure is something that a competitive player like Le Roux has been looking forward to and he describes it as being a “more complete” competition.

“It brings out the best in the players and also brings back the idea of honour to the Currie Cup. It brings pride back into the competition when there are only a limited number of teams, as players now have to fight for the chance to play Currie Cup rugby.”

On his own game and contribution, Le Roux, is equally enthusiastic. “Even at this age, I am still learning.”

He laughs off suggestions of retirement, stating that he will probably be 40 by the time he calls it a day.

“They can’t get rid of me that easily,” he chirps. “I still have a lot of goals to achieve, like 100 Super Rugby games and 400 first-class games. And we know how things can change if a new Springbok coach comes along. I still have a lot to offer.”

By Jon Cardinelli