Vodacom Western Province captain Luke Watson feels that the Cheetahs will win Saturday’s Currie Cup final.
“It is very difficult to call,” he told keo.co.za. “It’s the type of match-up that makes it very easy to sit on the fence and say: ‘rugby will win’. But I’d have to pick the Cheetahs to do the job this Saturday.
“The Bulls have definitely had the Cheetahs’ number this year. Having said that, the Cheetahs have the advantage playing at home in Bloemfontein under the coaching of Rassie Erasmus.”
Sharks coach Dick Muir has also backed a Cheetahs win, despite the Bulls form in the latter league stages.
Watson, mindful of the Bulls form, rated the Cheetahs a more cohesive unit and felt the team strength would prove decisive when compared to a Bulls team reliant on individual brilliance.
“Both teams have very similar styles of play with a few significant differences,” explained Watson. “The Bulls rely more on their individuals to win them the game, while the Cheetahs are more well-rounded, and have been more cohesive as a team throughout the season.”
Both teams have employed a conservative approach for the most part of their campaign, focusing primarily on their forwards and kickers to gain ground and build momentum. However, the Cheetahs have proved to be a greater threat when they decide to play expansively. The interplay between their loose forwards and backline has been especially good, the multi-talented Kabamba Floors and Ryno van der Merwe deserving much of the credit as catalysts of a wide attack.
Watson isolated an area that will determine the outcome of this match. Both Willem de Waal and Derick Hougaard’s goal-kicking needs to flawless. Hougaard is well known for his prodigious boot and ability to handle pressure situations, while De Waal is set to finish the Absa Currie Cup with the highest points tally for the third year running.
“Penalty kicks will be vitally important, and it will come down to who finds their rhythm first. They are also both great controllers of the game in the midfield, and it should be a fascinating contest within a contest.”
By Jon Cardinelli