Free State coach Naka Drotske isn’t doing any of the other South African teams any favours by effectively conceding defeat to the Crusaders before the game has even been played. Grow a backbone, Drotske and at least show the best team in the competition a little respect!
Drotske has named a significantly weakened side to face the log-leaders in Christchurch. The usual bollocks about “rotation”, “giving everyone a run”, “it’s a long season” and so on will no doubt be trotted out as justification. Fact is, the Cheetahs coach knows his side don’t stand a hope in hell of toppling the Saders in Christchurch and are making it very clear that they have no intention of even trying to do so.
It’s a pretty sad state of affairs that 4 out of 5 SA teams are, essentially, already out of the running for a semi-final spot (the Bulls probably haven’t realised this yet) but if every time one of them faces a tough away fixture against one of the front-runners, it certainly does the Sharks no favours if they decide to forfeit the points. At this rate, the Crusaders could well go through the round-robin stages unbeaten, ensuring home ground advantage in the semi and final. The only away games they still have to play are against the woeful Reds, the Chiefs and the Hurricanes. Lets hope that the Lions at least decide to give them a game; we know the Sharks will.
Going back to the Cheetahs, they have rested 4 guys in the tight 5 and picked a virtually new loose trio. This leaves Kobus Calldo as the only first choice player who will start in the pack, although no 7 Darron Nel at least started last week. The backline sees changes at scrumhalf and inside centre, totaling 8 changes altogether.
Here is the team:
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Eddie Fredricks, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Hendrik Meyer, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Conrad Barnard, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Kabamba Floors, 7 Darron Nell, 6 Hendro Scholtz (capt), 5 David de Villiers, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Kobus Calldo, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Ronnie Uys.
16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Barend Pieterse, 19 Duanne Vermeulen, 20 Tobie Botes, 21 Falie Oelschig, 22 Meyer BosmanTweet