Opposition View: Cheetahs

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This week’s Opposition View comes all the way from South Africa courtesy of DJ Rossouw (@djrossouw87), who imparts his knowledge of the Cheetahs on us, ahead of their first visit to the Arms Park as part of the expanded Guinness Pro14.

How pleased are you with Cheetahs season so far?

So far I am really satisfied with the Cheetahs performance this season. We have only lost one home game (against Glasgow), but our for away from home is a bit concerning, only winning two out of six games, and only one of them was overseas, against Zebre.

Overall I am really satisfied with our season so far though, I am actually surprised how well the Cheetahs are doing in Pro14. I didn’t expect us to be where we are now in our conference.

Cheetahs Ulster
Henco Venter takes on Ulster for the Cheetahs


What are your thoughts on the Pro14 as a whole?

Before my Cheetahs joined the Pro14, I did follow the Challenge and Champions Cups very closely, and with lots of the Pro14 teams did playing there I was familiar with some of the teams.

In my view, the level of playing standard is very high and in my view, almost at test level. Would even say the level is better then Super Rugby where my Cheetahs did play for 11 years.

What has been the standout Cheetahs game for you?

In my view it was our second home game against Leinster, where we blew them away. Even if it wasn’t their first choice players, with the depth that Leinster have, that was the standout game for me.

Cheetahs Leinster
Cheetahs beat Leinster 38-19 back in September


Who has been the standout Cheetahs player for you?

There has been a few standout players. Flanker Paul “Tier” Schoeman. lock Renier Hugo and prop OX Nche. The most influence player, though, is our captain Francois Venter.

Somebody who is making a big name for himself at Cheetahs and beginning to be a crowd favourite is full-back/winger Craig Barry.

What are the hopes for the rest of the season now?

My hope is to improve our away form in Europe and my big, big hope is to finish third in our conference and go threw to the play-off stage. It would be great if we can finish second but I’ll take third in our conference.

What ever happens after that will be an bonus. Just making the play-offs will be a huge statement from the Cheetahs.

Cheetahs Cardiff Blues
Cardiff Blues played Cheetahs on pre-season tour in 2012


What have you made of Cardiff Blues generally so far?

To be honest, I do not really know much about Cardiff Blues. I do know about the game they played Cheetahs in 2012, and from the few games I did see on TV (a few Pro14 games and some European games during December).

So my view is bit limited here, but the games I did see they look and play a lot like my Cheetahs. An attacking style of rugby and is always the underdog team with lots of supporters seeing them as the weakest team of their country. Everything the Cheetahs are accustomed to hear and read about here in South Africa.

Prediction for Saturday?

My prediction is that, because your field is an artificial pitch and not an normal pitch, this will benefit the Cheetahs, because of the way they play. Away from home winning is a problem for my Cheetahs, so I see a very, very close game. one-three point winning margin, but I will go with my Cheetahs.

Thanks again to DJ for his insight, make sure to follow him on Twitter @djrossouw87 for all the latest Cheetahs news.

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