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Cheetahs' Euro dream suffers injury setback

TEAM UPDATE: The Cheetahs suffered a significant setback ahead of their trip to France for a Challenge Cup Round of 16 face-off with Clermont at Stade Marcel Michelin on Saturday.

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Seasoned hooker Marnus van der Merwe has been ruled out of the trip with a calf injury – suffered a 76-5 win over the Leopards in a South African Cup (domestic) match in Potchefstroom this past weekend.

The match and the 38-7 demolition of the Boland Cavaliers a week earlier were part of the team’s preparation for their European outing.

Van der Merwe, capped more than 50 times for the Cheetahs in European and domestic competitions, has been a crucial cog in the Cheetahs’ set-up.

Although he has signed to join Scarlets in Wales later this year, he brings the experience they will need in Clermont.

Cheetahs coach Izak van der Westhuizen, who took over from Hawies Fourie in February after the latter departed to take up a coaching position with Boland, told OFM Sport that Van der Merwe will miss the tour to France.

Marko Janse van Rensburg will go as the backup hooker to the Namibian international Louis van der Westhuizen.

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“Marnus won’t be able to go with us,” the coach said, adding: “His injury is a little worse than we initially thought.

“Chucky [Van der Westhuizen] is going to start against Clermont.

“Marko Janse van Rensburg is also going with, and he will play off the bench.”

Janse van Rensburg has also struggled with injuries this season and is a touch short on game time.

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“Marko also had a bit of a big injury that took a bit of time to recover.

“He didn’t do the full pre-season.

“I think he is a good player.

“He has a good line-out throw, good in the scrums and he is good in the general play.

“The more game time he gets, the better he will get.”

The Cheetahs, who fly to France on Tuesday, will announce the tour squad on the day of their departure.

* Additional reporting: @OFMNuus

 

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