Cheetahs keep it tight

New Vodacom Cheetahs captain Hendro Scholtz is expecting a physical confrontation against Griquas in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

“We will be playing a conservative game,” Scholtz told keo.co.za, “It will be like Test rugby – hard and physical – so we will be taking no chances.”

Griquas have a couple of Super 14 players in Ronnie Cooke and Tiaan Liebenberg, but can hardly brag the class of the Cheetahs side, who even with out their Springboks look like a tough side to beat.

“These derby games are never easy,” said Scholtz. “We want to get things right early in the season and build towards the playoffs.”

Scholtz is confident that he is the right man to lead the Cheetahs to a semi-final spot. After a solid Super 14, many thought that Ryno van der Merwe might continue as the Cheetahs skipper.

“It wasn’t really a surprise to be made captain, as I am one of the senior members of the side now that Juan [Smith] is on Bok duty.

“Ryno is a player who competes for the ball on the ground, and it was felt that it would limit his game if he had the added pressure of the captaincy. Without this responsibility, he has been given the freedom to compete for those 50-50 balls.”

Cheetahs: Bevin Fortuin, Giscard Pieters, JW Jonker, Meyer Bosman, Gavin Passens, Willem de Waal, Michael Claassens, Darron Nell, Hendro Scholtz (captain), Ryno van der Merwe, Barend Pieterse, Corniel van Zyl, Jannie du Plessis, Rich Verster, Ollie le Roux. Subs: Jaco du Toit, Wian du Preez, Rory Duncan, Bian Vermaak, Falie Oelschig, Sinethemba Zweni en Philip Burger.

Griquas: Zane Kirchner, MJ Mentz, Lafras Uys, Christophe du Toit, Brendell Brandt, Conrad Barnard, JP Joubert, Frans Viljoen, Gareth Krause (captain), Heinrich Stride, Windpomp van Rooyen, Lodie Britz, Hedley Wessels, Tiaan Liebenberg, Jané du Toit. Subs: Cerneels Rautenbach, Eugene van Staden, Evan Botha, Jacques Burger, Tertius Carse, Eben Olivier and Vuyani Dlomo

By Jon Cardinelli