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Cheetahs eager to prove a point against Clermont

───   MORGAN PIEK 07:52 Tue, 02 Apr 2024

Cheetahs eager to prove a point against Clermont | News Article
Daniel Kasende - Morgan Piek

“For this squad who has been together for a couple of years, we need to take a step forward, so we would love to advance to the next round.”

The Toyota Cheetahs are eager to prove a point on the weekend when they face Clermont in France in the round of 16 of the EPCR Challenge Cup.

The Cheetahs will be playing in the round of 16 for a second time after falling short with a 36-21 defeat to the French giants Toulon a year ago.

While Toulon won that game by 15 points, the scoreline was not really a true reflection of the game and it was a matter of the bounce of the ball being in favour of the home team.

The Cheetahs have been dealt a blow with the fiery hooker Marnus van der Merwe ruled out for the trip, but they have their two wingers, Munier Hartzenberg and Daniel Kasende back after both completed their suspensions following their previous match against Oyonnax in France.

The Springbok, S’bu Nkosi, is however not available to play in the match as he only joined the team long after the rest of the squad was registered to play in the tournament. He will however play in Friday night’s SA Cup fixture against the Pumas in Bloemfontein.

The vast majority of the Cheetahs that will be boarding the flight to France this afternoon played in that game a year ago at Stade Mayol and this will serve the Cheetahs well, albeit they are a bit shy on game time.

The Cheetahs assistant coach, Charl Strydom, told OFM Sport that they can advance to the quarter-finals, but it’s also a matter of taking in the lessons learnt from the match against Toulon last year.

“For this squad who has been together for a couple of years, we need to make a step forward on this, so we would love to advance to the next round,” said Strydom.

“That is obviously the challenge for these okes. We tasted defeat last year, and it was a 15-point game in the end, but I thought that we played really well in that game.

“But, they got us off turnovers. I think they scored three tries against us off turnovers. They’ve got these big Fijian ball-carriers that know how to offload, so I think that was the one big lesson we took from that game. We tried to keep it tight, but I also thought that our attack worked well on that day, we scored four three ourselves.

“For this squad they are really keen to make it through to the next round.”

The Cheetahs will name their squad for the tour on Tuesday morning after their last training session at home, and at 14:00 they will fly out to France.

Saturday’s match at Stade Marcel Michelin kicks off at 13:30.

Morgan Piek OFM Sport

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