On Saturday, 6 April 2013, the Stormers will make the trip to Bloemfontein to take on the Cheetahs at home for Round 8 of the 2013 Super Rugby tournament.
With a winning percentage of only 27% against their fellow South African Vodacom Super Rugby sides, the Toyota Cheetahs will probably not be considered favourites when they take to the field against the Stormers.
But the home team, on the verge of setting a new franchise record for five consecutive wins, will be in a confident mood against the DHL Stormers this weekend, after impressive victories in their last four matches.
Last year, the Toyota Cheetahs won only one of their eight local derbies, but against the Capetonians, both these defeats were by seven points or less (14-16 in Cape Town and 6-13 in Bloemfontein).
The DHL Stormers have not lost to the Toyota Cheetahs since 2007, when the team from Central South Africa won convincingly by 27-9 in Bloemfontein. They travel to the Free State capital on the back of a disappointing home defeat against the Crusaders last week, and with a number of players out injured.
Still, Toyota Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské knows Saturday will be a very tough match for his team.
“The Stormers are always a quality side,” said Drotské.
“It’s mainly their defence, which is probably the best in the competition, which makes them very difficult to play against. We’ll have to work very hard to get points on the board.
“We’re expecting a very tough and physical game. They have a good pack and game breakers at the back. It’s always close against them – last year we lost both our matches by seven points or less.
“I realise there will be pressure to perform this week, but we see it as positive pressure. You need to win your home games if you want to make the top six and this is an opportunity for us. The players realise it and know we’re going to have to play at 100% intensity for 80 minutes on Saturday.”
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee, looking ahead to their trip to Bloemfontein, said: “We’ve seen how well the Crusaders did their homework and we know that we can expect the same from the Cheetahs.
“This week we’ll have to show improvement in all facets of the game if we want to do well against the Cheetahs. It’s never easy in Bloemfontein and it’s going to be a tough (South African) derby … but we need to focus on our game.”
The teams are:
Toyota Cheetahs: Hennie Daniller, Willie le Roux, Johann Sadie, Robert Ebersohn, Raymond Rhule, Burton Francis, Piet van Zyl, Phillip van der Walt, Lappies Labuschagne, Heinrich Brüssow, Francois Uys, Lood de Jager, Lourens Adriaanse, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Trevor Nyakane. Replacements: Ryno Barnes, Coenie Oosthuizen, Ligtoring Landman, Boom Prinsloo, Sarel Pretorius, Francois Brummer, Ryno Benjamin.
DHL Stormers: Jaco Taute, Joe Pietersen, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (captain), Gio Aplon, Elton Jantjies, Nic Groom, Duane Vermeulen, Michael Rhodes, Siya Kolisi, Andries Bekker, De Kock Steenkamp, Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: Martin Bezuidenhout, Pat Cilliers, Gerbrandt Grobler, Nizaam Carr, Louis Schreuder, Gary van Aswegen, Damian de Allende.