Cheetahs to tackle Elephants

The Toyota Cheetahs lock, Jean Drosté, on the charge for the Toyota Invitational XV. Drosté was one of the few Cheetahs who played against their team last Saturday in order to get game time. PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

The Toyota Cheetahs will be playing in their second warm-up game on Saturday when they tackle the Eastern Province Elephants in Bloemfontein.

Initially, the Cheetahs were set to head to Potchefstroom on Wednesday for a training camp, which would conclude with a warm-up match against the Leopards at Olën Park on Saturday. This game, however, was called off on Tuesday due to the Leopards having several positive Covid-19 cases in their camp. The Leopards warm-up match against the Griquas in Vryburg last week Friday was also called off at the 11th hour because of the infections.

The Elephants are expected to head to Bloemfontein without the flyhalf, Inny Radebe, who played in the Invitational XV against the Cheetahs last week. Radebe’s short-term contract at the team expired on Monday, and he opted not to renew. The team will also be looking for a new captain as he was their skipper.

Last week the rusty Cheetahs were stunned 43-35 by the young and exciting Invitational XV in Bloemfontein, and the Bloemfonteiners admitted that they were poor.

The Cheetahs will be without the Springbok Sevens stalwart, Rosko Specman, who has linked up with the Stormers in Cape Town, on a loan deal for the remainder of their involvement in the Rainbow Cup SA series. Specman needs game time ahead of the Springboks series against Georgia as well as the highly anticipated three-test series against the British and Irish Lions.

Last week, Brandon Thompson made his first appearance since joining the Cheetahs in February. Thomson managed to score a brace of tries for his new team, but the coach, Hawies Fourie, told Bloemfontein Courant that while he was happy, there are some things to focus on.

“There are one of two things that we will need to work on and fix. With the intercept pass, which led to Richard Kriel’s try, he wanted to pass to the wrong guy and it wasn’t in the playbook.

“That is the way the game went. We made too many mistakes, but Brandon showed us glimpses of what he can do, and we will work on the stuff that needs improvement.”

Saturday’s warm-up match at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein kicks off at 12:00. Due to Covid-19 no spectators will be allowed. – MORGAN PIEK