Cheetahs partner with Japanese club

Cheetahs forwards coach Os du Randt's move to Toyota Verblitz in Japan is the first step towards creating a partnership between the two teams.

An exchange programme will allow for selected players and coaches to be utilised by both entities, with players given the opportunity to play in Japan for the Toyota-owned Verblitz club during their regular season, which coincides with South Africa’s Currie Cup, and return to play Vodacom Super Rugby for the Cheetahs, who are sponsored by Toyota.

The programme’s benefits include the joint contracting of players from outside the Cheetahs squad, open channels of communication between the two entities to assist with player recruitment and development, and the prospect of contracts in Japan for players who traditionally would not be considered.

There will also be an exchange programme for coaches and the opportunity to develop Japanese players in South Africa.

This programme has made its first significant step forward with Du Randt set to move to Toyota Verblitz as forwards and scrum coach on a two-year contract while acting as an ambassador for the Cheetahs, which will see him assist with the contracting and exchange of players between the teams.

The two parties have begun discussions regarding the recruitment of players, inside and outside of the Cheetahs squad, to join the programme and have extended an invitation to a few Japanese players to join the Cheetahs during the Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup tournaments.

Coaches from the Cheetahs and Verblitz will also be travelling between Japan and South Africa to assist with various areas of coaching, structures and skills development.

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Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images

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Simon Borchardt