Fresh blood and ideas for the Cheetahs

This centre, Chris Smit, could find himself on tour with the Toyota Cheetahs next week. PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

The Toyota Cheetahs will target a strong finish to 2019 when travelling to Wales next week for their Guinness PRO14 match against the Ospreys in Swansea.

The Cheetahs only retuned to Bloemfontein last week, following their tour of three matches in Ireland and Wales. While the Cheetahs went to Europe as the team to beat following home wins against the Glasgow Warriors, Ulster and Munster, the going was tough abroad.

There were narrow defeats to Connacht and Scarlets, while and early red card sunk them against the Cardiff Blues. Sadly, a shocking penalty call in the 85th minute against Connacht in Galway was the reason for the narrow defeat, and ever worse is that the head of the referees admitted that Ben Whitehouse, who was the man with the whistle, got it wrong, and ultimately cost the Cheetahs the game. This decision did set the tone for the rest of the Cheetahs tour, and even some of the players believe if it went their way in Galway, they would have been unstoppable on tour.

The Cheetahs may change things around when they head back north and a new face or two could be included in the squad and this is due to injury and suspension.
Players that could be included are the loose forward, Chris Massyn, who joined from Maties and the Stormers earlier in the year, and the centre, Chris Smit, who was also at the Maties, but joined from the Griquas.

“It is a bit of a double-edged sword here at the Cheetahs. We have such quality players here, especially in the loose forward department. There are guys like Aidon Davis and Oupa Mohoje who have all been waiting for their chance to play, and there are a lot of young guys as well. That’s the thing about rugby, it’s all about waiting for your chance to play and being ready when that opportunity comes, and hopefully get in some game time. If it comes, I will have to prove what I can give to the team.

“It was a major factor when I decided to come here from the Stormers. I think that European rugby is going to suit me a lot better. It’s a lot more physical dominated forwards play, so, I am quite keen to show what I can do.”

Smit, who only had his first training session with the Cheetahs on Monday, displayed a good work ethic at first glance it appeared that he slotted into the system seamlessly. The Cheetahs club captain, Tian Meyer, welcomed the new energy in the camp.

“It’s always great to get fresh blood, new energy and a different perspective on the game. It just brings a different energy to the training field. You could see it with the newer guys like Chris and them joining now. There are a lot of the boys really training hard and it really brings the best out in you when the players put each other under pressure.”

At the time of print the loose forward, Jasper Wiese, had not appeared before the PRO14 disciplinary committee for his red card against the Cardiff Blues.

The Cheetahs fly out to Wales on Wednesday and will face the Ospreys in Swansea on Saturday. – MORGAN PIEK