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Cheetahs to hunt for maximum points


Written by Pierre McLeod (pierre_mackie)

Posted in :Cheetahs, EP Kings, Original Content, Super Rugby on 26 Apr 2013 at 09:09
Tagged with : , , , , ,

Super Rugby hit the halfway mark last weekend and there is still no clear front-runner in the South African Conference. The position is currently occupied by the Bulls on 28 the Cheetahs and the Sharks are both on 27.

Before the start of last weekend’s games, the Sharks had the privilege to lead the conference, but a home ground loss to the Cheetahs and a bonus point win by the Bulls pushed them down to 3rd place. By beating the Sharks it meant that the Cheetahs moved up to the top of the conference, but only held that position for 80 minute. Unfortunately for the Cheetahs, the Bulls spoiled their party as log leaders when they hammered the Kings in Port Elizabeth to take the top spot.

The Sharks will have a near impossible task to retain that position when they face the Chiefs in Hamilton this weekend, which could be a repeat of last year’s final. The Bulls could have their hands full against the Waratahs, who held on to a 25 – 20 win against last year’s champions the Chiefs.

The third team in the running for that top spot is the Cheetahs. The Cheetahs caused an upset last weekend when they beat the struggling Sharks at Kings Park, 12 – 6. The Cheetahs are probably playing the most exiting rugby from the South African teams with 6 wins from 9 games. They are also leading the South African tries column with 20, followed by the Bulls on 17 and the Kings on 16.

The Cheetahs will be backing themselves to pick up a bonus point win against the Southern Kings this weekend in Bloemfontein. The Kings couldn’t build on their momentum from their last two games on tour when they managed a 28-all draw against the Brumbies and a 30 – 27 win against the Rebels.

Things went horribly wrong for them against the Bulls last weekend when they couldn’t get a single point from a Bulls team that did everything right on the night. The Kings welcomed back their captain Luke Watson, but Watson seemed a bit off the pace and could easily be singled out as the one that broke their momentum as in form Jacques Engelbrecht had to take up his position on the bench.

The Kings have been adventurous in making a few changes for this coming match on Saturday. The captaincy has been given back to Andries Strauss and Engelbrecht will swap places with Watson. There will also be three newcomers to the Kings squad, Micheal Killan will make his long awaited return after breaking his arm before the start of the season, Siyanda Grey will also make his first appearance in a Southern Kings jersey and Frenchman Virgil Lacombe will be back up to Bandise Maku.

Former Springbok and Cheetahs player Nelie Smith said the Kings should not be underestimated but it will be difficult for the Kings to beat the Cheetahs especially at their home ground.

Naka Drotske said the Kings are this years surprise package and have shown that they can compete against the best in the competition when they drew with the Brumbies on tour. Drotske warned his team not to underestimate the Kings or fall into the trap of thinking it will be an easy game just because they at the bottom of the log. Teams that have beaten the Kings showed respect and had to play hard for their victories.

The Cheetahs have played 9 consecutive games and are the only team not to have had a bye in this years competition, and getting maximum points against the Kings this weekend will make the bye so much more enjoyable.



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