Fourie: Cheetahs the underdogs in Currie Cup clash against Griquas

The Cheetahs have named their strongest available side for the clash against Griquas in Kimberley.

The Currie Cup. Picture: Twitter/@TheCurrieCup

JOHANNESBURG – While it may be difficult to see how the Currie Cup can ever return to its former glory, it still means a lot to some unions.

So perhaps it’s fitting that this year’s first match in the world’s oldest rugby tournament is between the Griquas and the Cheetahs – two teams whose best chance at success is in this particular competition.

The Cheetahs have named their strongest available side for the clash in Kimberley, which will see double Rugby World Cup winner Frans Steyn start at centre, and seasoned veteran Ruan Pienaar running the show in the number nine jersey, with lock Victor Sekekete leading the team.

Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie is aiming to rack up as many log points as possible ahead of their next European Challenge Cup at the end of this month, where they’ll travel to France to face the dormant powerhouse that is Toulon.

Whether it is a psychological tactic or his genuine feeling, Fourie said that his team was at a disadvantage for the opener against last year’s runners-up.

“Griquas will obviously be the favourites at home. We are the underdogs, and it is up to us to perform better and get a good start on the log. The first three games are especially important to us to do well,” Fourie said.

With South African teams now participating in the Heineken Champions Cup, European Challenge Cup, and the United Rugby Championship, interest in the domestic cup has waned. This is largely due to the four biggest unions – the Bulls, Lions, Sharks, and Stormers/Western Province – being unable to field their best players in this competition.

It’s a situation that is unlikely to change in 2023, and one which arguably led to the unfancied Pumas lifting their maiden trophy last year.

Kick-off in Kimberley is at 16:00 on Friday, 10 March.

The Cheetahs team to face the Griquas:
15. Tapiwa Mafura
14. Daniel Kasende
13. Robert Ebersohn
12. Frans Steyn
11. Munier Hartzenberg
10. Reinhardt Fortuin
9. Ruan Pienaar
8. Jeandrè Rudolph
7. Friedle Olivier
6. Gideon van der Merwe
5. Victor Sekekete (Captain)
4. Rynier Bernardo
3. Hencus van Wyk
2. Marnus van der Merwe
1. Schalk Ferreira

16. Louis van der Westhuizen
17. Alulutho Tshakweni
18. Conraad van Vuuren
19. Mzwanele Zito
20. Daniel Maartens
21. Rewan Kruger
22. Evardi Boshoff
23. Cohen Jasper

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