• Cheetahs coach cautions over summer temperatures

    Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie has warned that players will have to be monitored throughout the domestic competition expected to be played during South Africa’s summer.

    The Vodacom Bulls, Lions, Sharks, Stormers, Cheetahs, Pumas and Griquas are all set to head into a restructured competition, with SARugbymag.co.za having reliably learned that 10 October is now the new prospective target date for action to start.

    It is believed that with 14 rounds of action the domestic competition could be taken over the festive summer period in December and January.

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    However, this has led to certain concerns over player welfare as fixtures could be staged in sweltering conditions upwards of 30 degrees.

    Speaking to the Citizen, Cheetahs coach Fourie said that matches may have to be staged later in the evening, with high humidity also likely during this time.

    ‘This is the time of the year when it’s hot everywhere, from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg to Kimberley, but especially Durban’, Fourie said.

    ‘In Durban, with the humidity, the ball becomes like a piece of soap, so I imagine games will kick off at 7pm and 9pm to play it safe.’

    Fourie pointed to an incident from yesteryear involving former Cheetahs captain and Springbok loose-forward Juan Smith, which underlined the danger of playing fixtures in hot conditions. Smith took to the field with the Cheetahs in a fixture against the Reds 10 years ago in 35-degree conditions in Bloemfontein.

    ‘After the game, Juan passed out in the dressing room due to heat exhaustion,’ Fourie said. ‘Since that day in 2010 steps were taken that games played in such warm conditions shouldn’t commence before 4pm.’

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