VIDEO: Cheetahs get reinforcements from Ospreys for Euro venture
Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie said reaching the quarterfinals is a minimum requirement for his team in their second European season.
The Cheetahs will be travelling to Parma on Tuesday, for their first match of the 2023-24 Challenge Cup – where they face Zebre on Saturday.
They will return to South Africa for a Round Two derby against the Sharks (Sunday, December 17) in Bloemfontein – before the Christmas break.
The Cheetahs will then host Section Paloise at the NRCA Stadium in Amsterdam on Sunday, January 14 and play against Oyonnax to round off their pool fixtures in Oyonnax, France on January 20.
They have been bolster by the return of three loan players from Wales.
Hooker Marnus van der Merwe, wing Daniel Kasende and scrumhalf Rewan Kruger – who were all on loan to Ospreys in the United Rugby Championship – have rejoined the Cheetahs and were included in the tour squad.
They got some valuable game time during their stay in Swansea.
All three were also regulars for the Cheetahs last year and featured in the Challenge Cup campaign that saw the Cheetahs advance to the Round of 16.
Rewan Kruger stepped up to become the starting No.9 after veteran Springbok Ruan Pienaar’s injury and made two appearances for the Welsh region in their most recent outings.
Van der Merwe played 55 minutes for Ospreys against Benetton this past weekend.
Kasende did not play this past weekend, but Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie said he has been in contact with them and they are ‘up to speed’ with what is required.
(Article continues below Hawies Fourie interview …)
Having based themselves in Parma last season, the Cheetahs are familiar with Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi and the local conditions.
With most of their preparations having taken place in high temperatures (around 35°C) it is more about making a mental shift towards the expected cold and wet weather they will experience at the weekend.
“We stayed in Parma for quite a while last year as we were based there – with it being our home ground,” he said of the requirement that they base themselves in Europe as part of the agreement to get the invite.
“We are all used to the hotel, the field, the training facilities and the weather.”
With rain predicted for Friday and Saturday, the Cheetahs may have to pack away their expansive game and take a more pragmatic approach to their opening fixture in Europe.
Zebre themselves are heading back to Italy following two weeks in South Africa – where they lost to the Lions and Stormers in the URC.
Cheetahs tour squad
FORWARDS: Rynier Bernardo, Schalk Ferreira, Justin Forwood, Marko Janse van Rensburg, Daniel Maartens, Friedle Olivier, Sibabalo Qoma, Jeandre Rudolph, Victor Sekekete (captain), Alulutho Tshakweni, Henus van Wyk, Gideon van der Merwe, Marnus van der Merwe, Louis van der Westhuizen, Laurence Victor, Carl Wegner.
BACKS: Evardi Boshoff, Reinhardt Fortuin, Cohen Jasper, Daniel Kasende, Rewan Kruger, George Lourens, Tapiwa Mafura, Ali Mgijima, Ruan Pienaar.