Pride will be at stake tonight as UB Rhinos host BDF Cheetahs at the UB Stadium in a re-scheduled Super Rugby match. The match was postponed on two occasions due to the unavailability of a venue.
Cheetahs come into the highly-anticipated clash as log leaders but Rhinos are just right behind, which sets the stage for a blood and thunder encounter. Rhinos will look to turn the tables against their opponents who beat them four times last season.
While it is early days in the title race, Cheetahs are well on course as they lead the log with 16 points that include two bonus points from three wins. The unbeaten Cheetahs have drawn once in their opening four matches, scoring 74 times and conceding 56.
Rhinos are second with 12 points after winning all their three matches. The side has scored 52 points and conceded 40.
Rhinos coach, Mooketsi Ramakele told Mmegi Sport yesterday that preparations for the fixture went well.
“I believe the players are highly motivated because last year we played against Cheetahs four times and we lost all the games. We are looking forward to changing the script,” he said.
Ramakele maintained that it was still too early in the season to put pressure on the players. He said the plan is to ensure that their defence and attack work effectively.
He said if they dominate set pieces, then they will deny Cheetahs possession.
“Fortunately we did not have any serious injuries in the win against Hogs on Saturday. It is only that our
Ramakele said at this stage, he is hoping for a disciplined execution of the game plan in both attack and defence. He explained that the coaching team went to great lengths to analyse the opposition playing patterns, and they are emphasising to players to stick to the game plan. Ramakele said if players follow instructions, he is confident of pulling a positive result.
Cheetahs spokesperson, Modesto Mazambi are quick to admit that they are expecting a tough fight tonight. He said Rhinos is always a tough opponent to crack. He said despite that, preparations for the game have been spot on.
“All of our players who have been out of action due to injuries are back. Lempaletse Ngaka, China Sengwaketse and Peace Kobobatle are in the starting line up. We expect our captain, Eddie Ernest to pass a late fitness test today (Thursday),” he said.
Mazambi said the game is like a Super Rugby final and they are going to treat it that way. He added that the intention is to walk out of the UB Stadium with maximum points and continue enjoying their stay at the top of the log.