Cheetahs expect a tough battle against Baia Mare


The Toyota Cheetahs will be hoping to sign off their Toyota Challenge campaign on a high note when they face the Romanian Super League champions, Baia Mare, on Friday night in Bloemfontein.

The Cheetahs made a big statement when their second-string side claimed a resounding 99-15 over the Diables Barcelona of Spain last week Wednesday. While the big win over the Catalan team was impressive, their 40-35 win over the Sharks on Saturday set the tone for this week’s match.

Baia Mare signalled their intensions with a comprehensive 72-14 drubbing of the Toyota Free State XV on Saturday morning. The visitors proved to be a very physical and skillful unit and they are in Bloemfontein to prove that they can compete at a higher level.

The coach of Baia Mare, Eugen Apjok, who represented his country at flyhalf in international rugby, told Bloemfontein Courant in order for their game to grow it’s important to play against teams from countries where rugby is an institution.

“We have a lot of work to do while we are here and we mustn’t forget that we are in the country of the world champions. It will be a different style of play and intensity that we can expect.

“But we need these kinds of games to grow up. It’s not very good to play against the same teams every year. We need another challenge and we need to take this opportunity with two hands.”

After watching Baia Mare dismantle the Free State XV, the Cheetahs realise they will be in for a tough day at the office on Friday and they are up for the fight.

The Cheetahs coach, Hawies Fourie, told Bloemfontein Courant their opponents will put them to the test.

“Baia Mare have played quite well. They are a physical and skillful team. They are not just big guys, but they can move the ball around quite well. They have a few New Zealand players in their backline.

“They impressed with their skill and the speed they played with. It will be a tight contest and, for sure, it will be a better game than last week Wednesday. They are really well organised.

Friday’s match at the Toyota Stadium will kick off at 18:15. Meanwhile, on Thursday at 17:30, Diables Barcelona will be in action against Kenya. – MORGAN PIEK