Chance for the Cheetahs

RICHARD FERGUSON writes that the Cheetahs are in a position to pull off another surprise win in Australasia.

The Cheetahs bossed the Highlanders in Dunedin to get their campaign off the mark, this after a poor start with a loss at home to the Sharks and a hiding at the hands of the Chiefs. Where exactly the motivation came to show such a turnaround nobody will know, the question though is if they will show the same form this weekend.

The Waratahs’ start hasn’t been much better, also boasting one win from three matches, the only difference being the quality of opposition in facing only Australian teams. The other difference has been the quality of rugby being played, the Cheetahs showing moments of brilliance on attack while the Waratahs have shown no potency whatsoever.

What the Cheetahs have, is momentum. And we all know the Cheetahs with the slightest bit of form is a beast of another kind. And with their pivot hitting some form, the team as a whole will be up for this match.

Key to the Cheetahs’ cause is Sarel Pretorius, as we all know, but it is his linking with Johan Goosen that is of the utmost importance. They started together against the Chiefs, and with Sarel’s passing not being up to scratch and Goosen missing kicks, the team as a whole fell apart. The very next match they clicked and the team benefited with front foot ball and the loose forwards were allowed to play. The fact that points were being scored from visiting opposition territory helped.

Lappies Labuschagne shined brightest against the Highlanders as he excelled in all aspects of the game, gaining front foot ball and being an absolute beast on defence. Expect Heinrich Brüssow to start and along with Lappies, gain an upper hand at the breakdown.

The Cheetahs are an up and down team that will surprise, whether good or bad, week in and week out, but I expect them to pull consecutive victories out of the hat and surprise again this weekend.