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There's no fight like a 'Bloem fight'

SPOTLIGHT: The Cheetahs received a timely boost as they ramp up their preparations for their Challenge Cup Round of 16 tie against Clermont next week.

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The Bloemfontein side started their SA Cup campaign with a win over Boland last weekend and will now face the Leopards in Potchefstroom on Saturday before they head to France for that European knockout clash.

They will now have the luxury of having their captain Victor Sekekete available, who was on loan to the Ospreys for the last couple of months.

Sekekete is set to get some game time this weekend to reacquaint himself with his team’s systems.

When asked what he missed the most about playing for the Cheetahs, Sekekete said: “For me, it’s the fight. I don’t think I’ve experienced a better fight than a Bloem fight.”

He added: “You know what goes into putting on the [Cheetahs] jersey.

“You know what is going to come, you know what you are putting out on the field.

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“I think that is something that you really appreciate and it is very clear once you leave the team.

“You really appreciate it every time.”

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Sekekete believes the leadership group has grown at the Cheetahs while he was away and it all bodes well for the future, especially with veteran scrum Ruan Pienaar hanging up his boots at the end of the season.

“That has always been the goal and yes it does make my job way easier,” said Sekekete.

“When everyone buys into the idea, it makes it easier for me and for the coaches and that is what we want at the end of the day.

“We want to have a lot of experience in the team and you want to have more than one voice.

“It also helps to channel through different personalities and different kinds of people.”

Meanwhile, Cheetahs head coach Izak van der Westhuizen admits that he has faced some challenges in preparing the squad on two fronts – the SA Cup and Challenge Cup.

The Cheetahs will face the Pumas on the same weekend they face Clermont and things were made complicated with some injury concerns to Aranos Coetzee and Ali Mgijima.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks just getting the two squads together,” said Van der Westhuizen.

“You can plan and prep as much as you can and then life happens and rugby happens and then you have to adapt and find another way.

“Yes, it makes things a little bit more difficult, but there are quality players here that can step in.”

@rugby365com

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