Rugby 12.1.2018 03:39 pm

Cheetahs need to be cocky about their PE trip

Clayton Blommetjies is back for the Cheetahs.  (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images)

Clayton Blommetjies is back for the Cheetahs. (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images)

It’s never easy but Rory Duncan’s troops really should target a non-negotiable win over the embattled Kings in the Pro14.

The Cheetahs aren’t being too hard on themselves for not churning out away wins in their first Pro14 campaign – after all, this is their first time playing in Europe.

Results overseas have been rather predictable as Rory Duncan’s troops have lost four of their five away matches to date.

But on Saturday they shouldn’t be so lenient on themselves as they face the embattled Southern Kings.

Port Elizabeth is not Limerick or Cardiff, especially against opponents that have lost all 11 of their games.

Even the “excuse” that local derbies are tougher really shouldn’t apply in this case.

“I doubt there’s extra pressure on us going into this game,” said Cheetahs stand-in skipper Torsten van Jaarsveld.

“We’ve been doing well in this campaign by just keeping to a weekly outlook. We don’t look too far ahead.

“That said, we’ve been looking forward to this game. It’s our first local derby in the Pro14. It’s going to be tough. Both teams will come out blazing.”

Despite many being willing to write the Kings off given their general instability, the Cheetahs are cautious.

“We’ve been in their position before. Your on such a losing streak that you literally start waiting for just one game to make things right again. The Kings are waiting for this match,” said Van Jaarsveld.

Regardless, the Cheetahs should take the longer view.

With the Six Nations looming, they’re likely to face opponents weakened by international call-ups.

An eminently winnable away game like the Kings would truly bolster their position.

“We know we’re coming to the halfway stage of the season but we haven’t talked too much about it,” said Duncan.

“We prepare every game to win. We need one.”

Southern Kings: Yaw Penxe, Michael Makase, Berton Klaasen, Martin du Toit, Anthony Volmink, Oliver Zono, Rowan Gouws, Ruaan Lerm, Tienie Burger, Eital Bredenkamp, Bobby de Wee, Stephan Greeff, Pieter Scholtz, Stephan Coetzee, Schalk Ferreira (c). Bench: Michael Willemse, Johan Smith, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Lindokuhle Welemu, Freddy Ngoza, Poerie van Rooyen, Ntabeni Dukisa, Harlon Klaasen.

Cheetahs: Clayton Blommetjies, Craig Barry, Nico Lee, Niel Marais, Makazole Mapimpi, Fred Zeilinga, Shaun Venter, Uzair Cassiem, Oupa Mohoje, Paul Schoeman, Reniel Hugo, Justin Basson, Tom Botha, Torsten van Jaarsveld (c), Ox Nche. Bench: Jacques du Toit, Charles Marais, Aranos Coetzee, Rynier Bernardo, Junior Pokomela, Henco Venter, Zee Mkhabela, AJ Coertzen.

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