• Cheetahs coach: Specman has valuable X-factor

    Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie says Rosko Specman will add ‘spice’ to competition for positions in the back three as he welcomed the signing of the speedster, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

    As recently reported by SARugbymag.co.za, Specman has accepted an offer to join the Cheetahs from the Vodacom Bulls, and is now expected to join the Free State side as early as 1 July.

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    Specman still has ambitions with the Springbok Sevens, and there is an understanding with the Blitzboks that will allow him to be available to coach Neil Powell for certain events.

    Fourie said they were certainly looking forward to Specman’s arrival in Bloemfontein, and the opportunity for him to play with the flair that has made him such a dangerous attacking weapon.

    ‘Rosko is a quality player, he proved himself with the Blitzboks and at [Vodacom] Super Rugby level, so we’re excited to have him join us. We’ll have good competition in the back three with quality players such as Rhyno Smith, Clayton Blommetjies, Craig Barry and Duncan Saal. Specman will certainly add a bit of spice in competition for places.

    ‘When he got opportunities he scored some brilliant tries in Super Rugby,’ Fourie added. ‘Our style of play usually presents good opportunities for the wings with ball in hand. We allow them to play what they see and to come off the wing and go look for work, and play off 9 and 10.

    ‘Rosko is the sort of player who you want to be involved and to touch the ball as many times as possible, because he create something from nothing. There aren’t many players like that around, so it’s great for us to have him in our squad. Like any other player he has to compete with the other guys, but he’s excited to join us as well. He enjoyed his stint with the Cheetahs previously and will slot in very easily.’

    Specman’s signing also represents another exciting addition to the Cheetahs’ backline, which will offer plenty of firepower when the Bloemfontein-based side is able to return to action.

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    Two-time World Cup-winner Frans Steyn has returned to Bloemfontein from Montpellier, while the Cheetahs have also brought experienced centre Howard Mnisi back from the Kings to further strengthen their midfield.

    There has been a noticeable investment in youth as well, as former Grey College players George Cronje, Lesley Botha and Marcell Muller have moved back to Bloem from French Top 14 sides. Meanwhile, Grey scrumhalf Juan-Dee Oliver is the latest to sign a two-year contract at the Cheetahs.

    ‘A guy like Frans will add experience and he’s multi-skilled,’ Fourie commented. ‘He’s a big guy who will keep defenders honest and when he has the ball, he will have a good chance of creating momentum and quick ball for us to play off. Frans obviously also boasts a big boot, and of course it will help to have someone available who has nearly 70 Tests caps and who has won two World Cups.

    ‘Ruan [Pienaar] has proved his qualities in the last season with us, and is well respected all over the world. So that will add real quality and excitement, and then we have other exciting players such as Howard Mnisi. Dries Swanepoel has extended his contract, while Chris Smit was a standout players in the Varsity Cup last year and played well for Griquas.

    ‘Then there’s William Small-Smith, Tian Meyer and Tian Schoeman who have also proved themselves at this level, so I’m really excited to see what our backline can do.’

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    Photo: INPHO/James Crombie

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    Craig Lewis