Cheetahs v Pumas - Teams and Predictions
SHAKY START: The Cheetahs will be looking for a morale-boosting win against the Pumas on Friday after a shaky start to their Currie Cup campaign.
After a bye in Round One, the Cheetahs went down 10-31 to Griquas in Kimberley in Round Two. They were then dealt a blow in Round Three when their match against the Bulls was cancelled in line with COVID-19 protocols.
Due to positive tests in the Cheetahs team, the Bulls were awarded the four match points.
The Cheetahs are currently sitting at the bottom of the standings with zero points and they know that they can’t afford to drop points at home against a strong Pumas team.
With head coach Hawies Fourie in isolation, defence coach Charl Strydom will take charge of the Cheetahs for Friday’s game.
Players still unavailable due to Covid-19 isolation include Aranos Coetzee, Cameron Dawson, Chris Massyn, David Britz, Evardi Boshoff, Howard Mnisi, Janus Venter, Reinhardt Fortuin and Wilmar Arnoldi.
The following players are not eligible for team selection due to injury: Oupa Mohoje (calf), Chris Smit (calf), Craig Barry (hamstring), Andisa Ntsila (hamstring), Marcell Muller (hamstring), Tian Meyer (hamstring), George Cronje (knee).
Strydom said there are a few boxes his team will need to tick when they come up against the Pumas.
“We had two training sessions this week and the Pumas already played three games, so that intensity factor is something that we need to drive,” said Strydom.
“We need to tire teams when they come to altitude, so that is definitely something we will try to get right.
“We haven’t managed to convert opportunities that into points and it puts a lot of pressure on us
“Other than the win, it [the goals] would have to be a decent start now.”
There are few players making their Currie Cup debuts for the Cheetahs this weekend.
Lesley Botha and Siya Masuku will form a new midfield combination in the backline, while flyhalf Brandon Thomson will also make his first Currie Cup appearance for the Cheetahs.
The other debutant is on the bench, with Zinedine Booysen getting jersey No.22
Meanwhile, the Pumas are sitting in second spot in the standings after two wins from their three matches.
After Western Province’s defeat to Griquas at Newlands on Wednesday, the Pumas can go top with a win in Bloemfontein.
Last 10 Currie Cup outings:
2011: Cheetahs won 29-23, Witbank
2014: Pumas won 28-21, Nelspruit
2014: Pumas win 31-17, Bloemfontein
2015: Pumas and Cheetahs drew 37-all, Nelspruit
2016: Cheetahs won 52-10, Nelspruit
2017: Cheetahs won 45-34, Nelspruit
2017: Cheetahs won 33-32, Bloemfontein
2018: Pumas won 42-14, Bloemfontein
2019: Cheetahs won 43-37, Nelspruit
2020: Cheetahs won 35-31, Nelspruit
@rugby365com: Pumas by three points.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Lesley Botha, 12 Siya Masuku, 11 Cohen Jasper, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Jeandre Rudolph, 5 Jean Droste, 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Aluluthu Tshakweni.
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Victor Sekekete, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Mihali Mosi, 22 Zinedine Booysen, 23 Malcolm Jaer.
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Tapiwa Mafura, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Matt More, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Eddie Fouche, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren (captain), 4 Brandon Valentyn, Ignatius Prinsloo 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Dewald Maritz.
Replacements: 16 Hendrik van Schoor, 17 Ruan Kramer, 18 Eduan Swart, 19 Kwanda Dimaza, 20 Daniel Maartens, 21 Chriswill September, 22 Wayne van der Bank, 23 Sebastián de Klerk.
Date: Friday, July 9
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 16.00 (14.00 GMT)
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: Ben Crouse