Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby journalist
2 minute read
19 Nov 2020
2:43 pm

No time to reschedule Covid-hit matches, as Cheetahs boss names team for final game

Rudolph Jacobs

Captain Junior Pokomela is a doubt for the match against Griquas in Bloemfontein because of a wrist concern.

Junior Pokomela is an injury doubt for the Cheetahs ahead of their last Unlocked game against Griquas in Bloemfontein this weekend. Picture: Getty Images

Due to the nature of week-in and week-out action since rugby’s resumption in South Africa it is almost impossible for postponed matches to be rescheduled, believed Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie.

Fourie, who on Thursday named four changes to his team for their final Super Rugby Unlocked game against Griquas in Bloemfontein on Saturday, said SA Rugby had no option really but to call the three recent postponed games a draw.

“If they don’t extend the competition it is practically almost impossible to play three matches in one week,” said Fourie. “And, that’s not just because of the players being overloaded, it’s also about the Covid testing,” he said.

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Fourie explained that Covid testing is not allowed to be done inside 48 hours of a match finishing.

“So, if you play on a Saturday you can only test on the Tuesday, and if you play an away game on the Wednesday you must travel the day before but you can’t finalise your team before you know who has tested negative,” he said.

“For example, if we were to play the Lions on a Wednesday we’d only be able to test on the Saturday, but the game would be for that same weekend so, logically, it’s almost impossible,” said Fourie.

Fourie meanwhile, has included fit-again Rhyno Smith on the right wing in place of Malcolm Jaer for the Griquas match, while at centre Howard Mnisi comes in for William Small-Smitth.

Up front, he has changed both his props with Boan Venter coming in for Charles Marais, who has a sore neck, while Hencus van Wyk replaces Luan de Bruin (bicep injury).

Fourie has also bracketed flank and captain Junior Pokomela with Aidon Davis because the former has a wrist problem.

Fourie said he had mixed feelings about his team’s campaign. “We started well, but then lost momentum with that cancelled game against the Lions, which was followed by a bye.

“We then didn’t play for two weeks before the Sharks match and the players just weren’t sharp.”

TEAMS

Cheetahs:

Clayton Blommetjies, Rhyno Smith, Howard Mnisi, Frans Steyn, Rosko Specman, Tian Schoeman, Tian Meyer, Jeandré Rudolph, Junior Pokomela (capt)/Aidon Davis, Andisa Ntsila, Carl Wegner, Ian Groenewald, Hencus van Wyk, Reinach Venter, Boan Venter. Bench: Jacques du Toit, Cameron Dawson, Khutha Mchunu, Oupa Mohoje, Aidon Davis/ Chris Massyn, Ruben de Haas, Reinhardt Fortuin, William Small-Smith

Griquas:

Masixole Banda, Ederies Arendse, Harlon Klaasen, Johnathan Francke, Eduan Keyter, Tinus de Beer, Zak Burger (capt), Carl Els, Stefan Willemse, Gideon van der Merwe, Cameron Lindsay, Adre Smith, Ewald van der Westhuizen, HJ Luus, Mox Mxoli. Bench (from): Monde Hadebe, Andrew Beerwinkel, Madot Mabokela, Ewan Coetzee, CJ Velleman, Theo Maree, Andre Swarts, Daniel Kasende, Bandisa Ndlovu, Sibabalo Qoma, Ashlon Davids

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