• Cheetahs Super Rugby preview

    The Cheetahs are aiming to reach the Vodacom Super Rugby play-offs again this season.

    JOHN MITCHELL SAYS …

    ‘The Cheetahs were superb in 2013 compared to their previous campaigns and that mostly had to do with improvements they made from a fitness and conditioning perspective as well as defensive advances. The former was reflected in their ability to keep selection continuity for the better part of the tournament and if they can replicate that in 2014, I can’t see why they won’t make the play-offs again. They don’t have the calibre of player to win the tournament, but I think privately they know this and will be content with another season like their last.’

    PLAYERS OUT

    Lourens Adriaanse (Sharks), Robert Ebersohn (Montpellier, France), Burton Francis (Agen, France), Piet van Zyl (Bulls), Frans Viljoen (Lyon, France).

    PLAYERS IN

    Jean Cook (Bulls), Cornal Hendricks (SA Sevens), Piet Lindeque (Sharks), Howard Mnisi (Griquas), Caylib Oosthuizen (Lions), Nick Schonert (Griquas), Shaun Venter (Kings), Francois Venter (Bulls).

    NUMBERS THAT MATTER

    10 – The number of games won by the Cheetahs in the 2013 season, a franchise record.

    3 – The number of games they won on their Australasian tour, a franchise record (they beat the Highlanders, Waratahs and Force).

    87.6 – The percentage of successful tackles made by the Cheetahs in 2013 Super Rugby (fifth overall).

    248 – The number of tackles flanker Lappies Labuschagne made in Super Rugby last season, the most in the tournament.

    2 – The number of points separating the Cheetahs from the Brumbies in their first ever play-off appearance, in Canberra (they lost 15-13 after Riaan Smit narrowly missed a conversion attempt after the hooter).

    6 – The number of tries scored by Cheetahs wing Willie le Roux in Super Rugby last season (the most by a South African, along with Kings flank Wimpie van der Walt).

    2013 RECORD

    Won:10; Lost: 7; Win %: 59

    2014 FIXTURES

    15 February: Lions (h); 21 February: Bulls (h); 28 February: Rebels (a); 7 March: Reds (a), 15 March: Hurricanes (a), 22 March: Blues (a), 28-29 March: BYE, 5 April: Chiefs (h), 12 April: Crusaders (h), 19 April: Sharks (a), 26 April: Stormers (h); 3 May: Bulls (a); 10 May: Force (h); 17 May: Brumbies (h); 24 May: Stormers (a); 30-31 May: BYE; BREAK FOR JUNE TESTS; 27-28 June: BYE; 5 July: Sharks (h); 12 July: Lions (a).

    PREVIOUS LOG FINISHES

    1997: 7th; 1998: 12th; 1999: 11th; 2000: 4th (semi-finalists); 2001: 3rd (semi-finalists); 2002: 11th; 2003: 12th; 2004: 12th; 2005: 11th; 2006: 10th; 2007: 11th; 2008: 13th; 2009: 14th; 2010: 10th; 2011: 11th;  2012: 10th; 2013: 6th (qualifier).
    Note: Played as Free State in 1997 and did not qualify in 1996. Played as part of Cats franchise from 1998-2005

    FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER

    Willie le Roux
    @wjjleroux
    16,967 followers

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

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    Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix

    Post by

    Simon Borchardt