The Toyota Cheetahs are excited about the fixtures for the 2017 Super Rugby season.
The will be thoroughly tested in the new year with matches against the New Zealand teams instead of the Australian teams as was the case in 2016.
The team kicks off their campaign on 25 February against this years’ losing finalists the Lions in Bloemfontein, with home games against the Bulls and Sunwolves before their first away game.
There first match on the round will be against the Argentine outfit the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
After their bye week in round 7 the team enters what will be crucial phase with home games against the Chiefs, Crusaders and Highlanders as well as the away game against the Bulls. All these games will be played in a space of a month.
The Cheetahs will then crosses the Pacific channel and Tasman Sea for their tour of New Zealand for games against the Blues and the defending champions the Hurricanes.
From the Land of the long white cloud is off to Japan to tackle the Sunwolves in Tokyo.
Following their return to South Africa they have a home game against the Stormers and wrap up their round-robin matches against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.
The Cheetahs captain, Francois Venter, told OFM Sport that while their focus in on the Currie Cup with the semi-finals looming, they are really excited about the draw and want to face the Kiwi teams.
“I’m excited about the draw but there is still a lot of work lying ahead this year,” said Venter.
“We are still preparing to be competitive in the Super Rugby and things happen for a reason.
“All we can do is focus on our job and preparations going into the Super Rugby and get the confidence going in the first games and then see how it goes overseas.
“New Zealand playing exceptional rugby and hopefully we can go over there and surprise them with our attitude.”
First the Free State Cheetahs have to face the Pumas on Friday evening and a win at the Mbombela Stadium in the Nelspruit will assure the side from Bloemfontein of a spot in the Currie Cup semi-finals.
25 Feb – Toyota Cheetahs v Lions, Toyota Stadium, 15:05 (H)
4 Mar – Toyota Cheetahs v Bulls, Toyota Stadium, 19:30 (H)
11 Mar – Toyota Cheetahs v Sunwolves, Toyota Stadium, 17:15 (H)
18 Mar – Jaguares v Toyota Cheetahs, Velez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires, 21:40
24 Mar – Toyota Cheetahs v Sharks, Toyota Stadium, 17:15 (H)
1 Apr – Stormers v Toyota Cheetahs, Newlands, 15:05
7 Apr – BYE
15 Apr – Toyota Cheetahs v Chiefs, Toyota Stadium, 15:05 (H)
22 Apr – Bulls vs Toyota Cheetahs, Loftus Versfeld, 17:15
29 Apr – Toyota Cheetahs v Crusaders, Toyota Stadium, 17:15 (H)
5 May – Toyota Cheetahs v Highlanders, Toyota Stadium, 19:00 (H)
12 May – Blues v Toyota Cheetahs, TBC, New Zealand, 9:35
20 May – Hurricanes v Toyota Cheetahs, TBC, New Zealand, 9:35
27 May – Sunwolves v Toyota Cheetahs, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo, 7:15
1 Jul – Toyota Cheetahs v Stormers, Toyota Stadium, 15:05 (H)
8 Jul – BYE
14 Jul – Southern Kings v Toyota Cheetahs, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, 19:00. – MORGAN PIEK