Coenie Oosthuizen needs to make as big an impact at scrum time as he does in open play against the Brumbies in Bloemfontein on Saturday, writes SIMON BORCHARDT.
Oosthuizen returned to the Cheetahs' starting XV for last week's match against the Force and was dominated up front by Pek Cowan. With loosehead Caylib Oosthuizen also coming off second best, the visitors were given a significant advantage and made it count with a 23-16 win.
Oosthuizen has worked hard with Bok scrum coach Pieter de Villiers on the technical aspects of scrummaging and his understanding of the set piece, and the result was an excellent performance at tighthead against France last November. He'll be hoping for a similar effort against a Brumbies pack that has the worst scrum success rate in the competition (76%).
Oosthuizen may now be paying more attention to his scrummaging than his goose-step, but he remains a threat in general play, gaining 47m from 13 runs against the Force. The Brumbies can expect a similar battering.
The Cheetahs have made two changes for this match, with Shaun Venter coming in for the injured Sarel Pretorius at scrumhalf, and Willem Serfontein replacing Waltie Vermeulen in the second row to make his first Super Rugby start. Meanwhile, Henry Speight has recovered from a fractured jaw sustained in round five and will wear the Brumbies No 14 jersey.
The Brumbies are third on the combined log and will start as favourites, having won five of their last six matches against the Cheetahs, including a 15-13 win in last year's play-off qualifier in Canberra.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Cheetahs 4, Brumbies 14
In Bloemfontein: Cheetahs 4, Brumbies 3
* Includes Cats
OOSTHUIZEN STATS THAT MATTER
7 – The number of matches Oosthuizen missed this season because of a neck injury
51 – The number of minutes he played off the bench against the Bulls at Loftus upon his return from injury
47 – The number of metres he made with ball in hand against the Force last week, from 13 carries
Cheetahs – 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Johannes Prinsloo, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Willem Serfontein, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Nicolaas van Dyk, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Waltie Vermeulen, 21 Renier Botha, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Riaan Smit.
Brumbies – 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Fotu Auelua, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 JP Smith, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Tom McVerry, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Pat McCabe.
Photo: Gerhard Steenkamp/BackpagePix