The stage is set for what is expected to be a thrilling Super rugby final between Gaborone Hogs and BDF Cheetahs at Wharic Park tomorrow. It is a repeat of last year's final where Cheetahs emerged victorious.
Cheetahs are expected to be cautious after suffering two defeats at the hands of Hogs this season. Cheetahs won the semi-final through a slim margin of 21-20 against Canon Jaguars to proceed to the final while the marauding Hogs brushed aside UB Rhinos 41-30.
It has been a rusty run for the Cheetahs, despite reaching the final, the team was a shadow of itself. Club spokesperson, Modesto Madzambi conceded to Mmegi Sport that it has been a tough season for the defending champions.
“This might be due to the fact that some of our players are aging. The players are also relaxed because they feel they are too good for other teams and they have won all tournaments,” he said. Madzambi said their losses against Hogs were embarrassing. He said even their win in the semi-final against Jaguars was not convincing and they had to come from behind. He suspects other teams have picked out Cheetahs strategy. He said it could also be a good thing to go to the final as an underdog.
At the beginning of the season, Cheetahs lost Keorapetse Lesotlho to Rhinos and Sebabi Sebabi to Jwaneng clubs. The absence of Omphile Dabula and Kaura Kaura in the Cheetahs line up has affected their rhythm. Lempaletse Ngaka and Eddie Ernest have been on the sidelines due to injuries. “We
Cheetahs have good lines as their jumpers are the once for the Vultures. Former Hogs player, Eddie Ousthuizen, who is Cheetahs fly half, is expected to prove a point against his former paymasters when it comes to conversions and penalties. Hogs coach, Louis Fourie said to reach the final last year was special. He said his players had worked very hard and deserved to be in the final. “I think for the young and upcoming players the final was too much for them. Cheetahs stopped them with experience on the day. This time it is a different story. My players have played a final and I think they are better prepared this time around mentally,” Fourie said. He said the preparations have been going well and they are not going to give away anything. He added that in any final the team that wants it the most would win on the day.
“It was satisfying beating them in the league games, but I am expecting a hard and tough game from Cheetahs. That is what we want and are preparing for,” he said.