Rhule gets last centre chance

Free State Cheetahs speedster Raymond Rhule’s future at outside centre will depend on his performance against Griquas this weekend.

Rhule made his first senior appearance in the No 13 jersey during Free State’s 34-30 loss to the Blue Bulls in Pretoria last Saturday. The 19-year-old played in the midfield at schoolboy level and for the Free State U21s, but has featured predominantly at wing during the Currie Cup and the Baby Boks’ Junior World Championship-winning run in June.

While he scored a try during the loss at Loftus Versfeld, Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie wasn’t completely impressed with the player’s overall performance.

‘He did okay for his first run at outside centre for us, but his decision-making needs to be better,’ Fourie told keo.co.za. ‘There were times he needed to pass and spread the ball. He attacked the Bulls defensive line too much. He’ll get another run at 13 against Griquas this weekend.’

If things don’t improve, Rhule will return to wing, where he has impressed on the domestic scene. He’s currently tied as the top try-scorer in the Currie Cup.

Meanwhile, out-of-form flyhalf Sias Ebersohn could return to the Free State run-on side on Saturday.

Ebersohn, who dropped behind Johan Goosen (Springboks), Riaan Smit (injured) and scrumhalf specialist Tewis de Bruyn in the pivot pecking order this season, played a big role during the Cheetahs’ near second-half comeback against the Bulls.

De Bruyn has started in the No 10 jersey over the last two weeks.

‘We were happy with his performance off the bench. He did very well,’ said Fourie.

Free State Cheetahs – 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Raymond Rhule, 12 Robert Ebersohn (c), 11 Rayno Benjamin, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Phillip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Marcel van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 AJ Le Roux, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Carl Wegner, 19 Hendro Scholtz, 20 Tewis du Bruyn, 21 Andries Strauss, 22 Philip Snyman.

By Gareth Duncan