Cheetahs stalk best-ever season

WHILE the spotlight will be on the Bulls-Crusaders clash at Loftus on Friday night and then on the Stormers and Sharks at Kings Park on Saturday, an intriguing clash is also in the offing in Bloemfontein this weekend.

WHILE the spotlight will be on the Bulls-Crusaders clash at Loftus on Friday night and then on the Stormers and Sharks at Kings Park on Saturday, an intriguing clash is also in the offing in Bloemfontein this weekend.

Taking place on Saturday afternoon it features the Western Force from Australia against the Cheetahs.

The Cheetahs, though sitting towards the bottom of the log, have their best-ever Super 14 season within their grasp if they can pick up a win this week and next week against the Lions.

For Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske, Saturday is of vital importance.

"We have a lot of confidence after beating the Blues last week and hopefully that will carry over on Saturday," Drotske told Sowetan yesterday.

"It hasn't been a bad season but we've suffered a lot with players being injured. Often we've had six guys out injured."

Another to be placed on the injury list this week is Springbok wing Jongi Nokwe, who broke his jaw in the Blues match.

Nokwe will spend a minimum of six weeks on the sidelines.

"Losing Jongi is a big blow to the team. His form this year has been excellent and we will miss his experience. But injuries are part of the game," said a philosophical Drotske.

The coach also has a lot of respect for the Force. "They are a quality side and have claimed some big scalps this year. Wins against the Crusaders and Bulls put them right up there with the best so we will have to be on our guard."

A plus for the side is the recent return of captain Juan Smith. He was absent for four weeks after his father died.

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