Discarded Cheetahs ready to 'make a statement'
SPOTLIGHT: The Cheetahs made their first statement in an Under-21 match at the weekend, but they are determined to put their mark on senior rugby.
The Cheetahs get their chance to make a BIG statement – in the wake of their controversial axing from the Pro14 – when they host the Pumas in the opening round of the new Super Rugby Unlocked competition.
The season gets underway when the Sharks host the Lions in Durban on Friday – with the other two matches on Saturday.
The Cheetahs are at home to Pumas, before the Bulls host Griquas.
It is in Bloemfontein where there could be fireworks from a Cheetahs team determined to show why it was such an injustice to axe them at last week’s special general meeting of SA Rugby.
The Cheetahs have been victorious in both their pre-season outings – beating Griquas 40-7 and 31-21.
The Pumas have had some mixed results in their pre-season outings – beating a Blue Bulls XV (C-Team) 50-38 and then losing 5-33 to a Lions selection that was a mixture of first-choice and back-up players.
The Cheetahs have some injury concerns in their build-up, with speedy flyer Malcolm Jaer doubtful with a knee injury.
Jaer suffered the injury while playing for the Green team in the Springbok trial at Newlands this past Saturday.
He underwent a scan on Sunday and had further tests done Monday.
It is expected he will be sidelined for only a week or two.
“I’ll be on track in the next few days,” Jaer said in an Instagram post on Monday.
His absence this week will leave Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie with a selection poser.
They have a number of injured outside backs – with Rhyno Smith and Duncan Saal also sidelined.
Jaer was one of five Cheetahs players that featured in the Green versus Gold Bok trial at the weekend – with two-time World Cup winner Frans Steyn headlining an impressive Bloemfontein cast.
Luan de Bruin, Rosko Specman and Junior Pokomela also featured at Newlands.
The Cheetahs can also call on the services of another veteran Bok, utility back Ruan Pienaar.