'We'll stop Lions momentum' claim Cheetahs

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The Independent Online

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has assured the British and Irish Lions that they will not have the free ride on defence that the Golden Lions gave them at Ellis Park on Wednesday night.

"We will get in their faces for 80 minutes and do our utmost to stop them getting momentum," Drotske said.

"The Golden Lions were very poor on defence. There were holes everywhere. They did not have much structure. That allowed the Lions to get momentum and to bring their dangerous backs into play."

The former Springbok hooker said that he had been surprised and impressed with the attacking play of the visitors in the 74-10 win.

"Most of us thought that they would come here and restrict themselves to a Six Nations pattern based on forward domination and kicking for territory but we can see that they want to keep their options open by allowing the backs to attack in these early games.

"They want to play attacking rugby now so they can call on the backs if required in the Tests," he said.

The Lions are expecting the Cheetahs to be their toughest provincial game because the Free Staters have continuity in their squad from the Super 14.

Where teams like the Sharks and Western Province have lost the bulk of their starting XVs to the Springboks the Cheetahs are missing only Juan Smith and Jongi Nokwe and have been unexpectedly boosted by the surprise return of discarded Bok openside flank Heinrich Brussow, who played for the SA XV last week against Namibia.

"It's a huge plus for us to have Heinrich available," said Drotske.

"He is one of the best openside flankers in the world. I think it will be interesting to see him against the Lions tomorrow. He is obviously very keen to impress."

The tourists will name their team on Friday afternoon and will revert to the bulk of the players that played in the tour opener against the Royal XV, plus the balance of the players that have yet to start a match.

Drotske said he expected the toughest challenge from the Lions to come from their scrum.

"They are going to test us in the scrum big-time," Drotske said. "That is a major concern for me and then our first-phase defence has to be very good because if we allow them to create that momentum, they are going to get the offloads away and then their strike runners come at you."

Drotske says his players were embracing the talk that they would be the Lions' toughest opponents.

"We feel it is important for the Springboks that the provincial teams do not give the Lions an easy ride," he said.

"They should not be allowed to build momentum through the provincial games. We want to do the Boks a favour."

Cheetahs squad to play Lions:

Hennie Daniller, Danwel Demas, Corne Uys, Meyer Bosman, JW Jonker, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Tewis de Bruyn, Hendro Scholtz (captain), Francois Uys, Heinrich Brussow, David de Villiers, Nico Breedt, Kobus Calldo, Adriaan Strauss, Wian Du Preez.

Substitutes: Richardt Strauss, WP Nel, Frans Viljoen, Kabamba Floors, Gerrie Odendaal, Louis Strydom, Fabian Juries.

This story was sourced from iol.co.za