The Cheetahs have a huge point to prove when they take on the Lions in a Currie Cup catfight at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday afternoon (5pm kick-off).
Having started unceremoniously from the Pro 14 (now United Rugby Championship) the Cheetahs biggest challenge is the local Currie Cup competition and while it is still very competitive it is nowhere near the level of an international pro union tournament.
As this year’s favorites with a strong squad, the Cheetahs will be looking to make a big statement at SA Rugby and will aim for a huge result against the struggling Lions who have yet to win a competition this year.
That includes five URC-games and three Currie Cup-games, leaving the visitors in very bad shape going into the game.
However, Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie doesn’t count his chickens before hatching and believes his team still has the challenge to face a tough opponent.
“I think the Lions are a quality team, they’ve been through a rough patch, but we expect a strong team to come to Bloemfontein. I think a lot of their URC men will get the chance to get some playing time,” he said. fourie.
“I think they play a similar kind of rugby as we do. It’s exciting, they like to hold the ball, and they’re difficult, especially in turnover. So it will be a tough test for us, but we’ve trained well over the past two weeks and we’re ready for the 80 minutes on Saturday.”
This weekend’s game will be only the Cheetahs’ second game against the URC opposition after comfortably beating the Bulls in Pretoria last month, and they will be eager to take a big win over the Lions to make it two out of two.
They then host the Western Province and travel to Durban to take on the Sharks later this month and a perfect sweep of four wins over the four URC franchises will go a long way in getting the Cheetahs’ point across.