Beware of Bloem

Bloemfontein could be the graveyard for visiting Super 14 teams, according to Cheetahs manager Naka Drotske.

The former Free State captain, who lifted the Currie Cup at Loftus last year, warned visiting teams that they would have to fight for every point when playing in Bloemfontein.

“I’ve never met a rugby player who enjoys coming here,” he said on Boots & All. “Players from overseas really don’t like it.

“It’s great to start off with five games in South Africa – I guess you could say we have the perfect draw. I’m also pleased that we tour late in the competition, which gives our youngsters a chance to settle down.”

While the Cheetahs are still savouring their Currie Cup victory, Drotske has warned his team to expect a far tougher challenge in the Super 14.

“I’ve told them that the Super 14 is nothing like the Currie Cup,” he said, before commenting on the threat of relegation. “I think the pressure’s on the other SA franchises more than us. They’ve budgeted to play Super 14 rugby, for us it’s almost a bonus.”

The Cheetahs, like the Force, are expected to be the whipping boys of the Super 14, but Drotske believes the youngsters in the team will stand up and be counted.

“I’m very excited about the talented players we have in the squad,” he said. “I expect at least four or five of our youngsters to show why they will play for the Springboks one day.”

The Cheetahs kick off their Super 14 campaign at home against the Bulls next Friday night, before taking on the Sharks at King’s Park.