Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
1 minute read
13 Mar 2014
6:00 am

Pretorius back to add needle

Rudolph Jacobs

Desperate times call for desperate measures and a few radical changes to the Cheetahs backline it is hoped will inject some needle ahead of their third Super Rugby tour match against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday morning.

Odwa Ndungane of the Sharks looks to tackle Sarel Pretorius of the Free State Cheetahs during the Absa Currie Cup match between The Sharks and Toyota Free State Cheetahs at Growthpoint Kings Park on September 21, 2013 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

Keeping his forward pack intact, the biggest decision coach Naka Drotske has made was to restore livewire scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius to the starting line-up, dropping Shaun Venter to the bench in an effort to bring some much needed spark to the back division.

In one of five changes to his backline, Pretorius is seen as the catalyst after setting up the Cheetahs third try last weekend in their 43-33 loss to the Reds in Brisbane, with one of his trademark breaks before off-loading to the replacement flyhalf Elgar Watts, who went crashing over.

Both Pretorius and Venter underwent shoulder surgery in the off-season, but Pretorius has shown he is busy getting back to his very best, while Venter has failed to make the required impact after four starts.

On the left wing, Raymond Rhule returns after an ankle injury to replace Willie le Roux who will revert back to his accustomed fullback position.

It’s unfortunate that Hennie Daniller loses his fullback berth after being one of the better players against the Reds, but with Cornal Hendriks also back on right wing in place of Rayno Benjamin the Cheetahs’ intentions are clear; run at the Hurricanes.

Hendricks was dropped after the 35-14 loss to the Rebels, but impressed Drotske when he came off the bench in Brisbane last weekend. Lock Andries Ferreira also returns to the bench, replacing Ligtoring Landman.