Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Cheetahs hunting Pau scalp in ‘knock-out’ Challenge Cup match

In their previous match against Pau the Cheetahs were trailing at halftime before an inspired second half led to them winning,

The Cheetahs will be hunting the scalp of Section Paloise (Pau), when the two teams clash in their massive final Challenge Cup pool match at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma, Italy on Sunday evening (kick-off 5:15pm).

It is essentially a knock-out game between the two sides, with the winners progressing to the round of 16 and the losers falling out of the competition.

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The Cheetahs started their Challenge Cup campaign well with a win over Pau in France, but followed that up with two losses against Scarlets, which has led to this much win match.

“There is a really good vibe in the squad. Everybody is really looking forward to Sunday’s game and we know it’s a knock-out game,” said Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie.

“If we win we go through to the next round and if we don’t Pau will go through. So it’s got a bit of a semifinal feeling around it. But we have prepared well this week and had a good week on the training field, so everyone is excited.”

Inspired second half

In their previous match against Pau the Cheetahs were trailing at halftime after a subdued performance, before an inspired second half effort saw them change their game to a more attacking style which helped them battle back to a 21-16 win.

I similar style to that seen in the second half of that game is expected to be on show on Sunday.

“The (first) Pau game we had Frans (Steyn) at fullback with his good kicking game, and then he got injured. So we had to change the way we play because he pulled his hammy and couldn’t play like he usually does for most of the second half,” explained Fourie.

“The conditions were quite good that day, so it wasn’t difficult to switch over to play a more attacking game, which worked for us in the second half.

“This coming weekend the forecast is quite cold, but there is no rain expected. It will be possible to handle the ball well and keep it through multiple phases to put pressure on them. So we will go that route, play an attacking brand on Sunday and try and win the game that way.”

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Challenge Cup Cheetahs rugby team Hawies Fourie