Posted on Tuesday, 11 Feb 2020
The Toyota Cheetahs depart for Ireland on Tuesday for a three-match tour in the Guinness PRO14, and they will tackle the defending champions, Leinster in Dublin, as well as Ulster in Belfast and the Dragons in Newport.
The Toyota Cheetahs head overseas with renewed confidence following back-to-back wins over the Southern Kings, however, they are well aware of how tough the assignment will be.
Ruan Pienaar, told OFM Sport that going on tour now will be the best way to measure themselves following the work that has been done over the past couple of weeks.
“We started off well, then we go on a tough tour. If we won that first game against Connacht then it would have been a great start to the tour and we would have been positive. That wasn’t the case.
“We had a few red cards along the way which made it difficult.
“We are slowly but surely finding our feet again. It is also a bit disruptive because we play for two weeks, and we’ve got off for two weeks.
“To go on tour now and to bond as a team for the next three weeks is maybe something that we need at this stage.
“We are going to be challenged and we are going to be challenged. As a group that is something that we need in order to see where we are now as a team.
“We are positive; we’ve worked really hard over the past couple of weeks. We’ve just got to focus on what we want to do, how we apply ourselves and in those pressure moments perform well, and execute when we’ve got the chance.”
Pienaar, who is an Ulster legend in his own right, added that of all the tours to date, this is the one that excites him the most and he will be making an eagerly anticipated return the Kingspan Stadium.
“It will be special to go back there because it is a place I still hold dear to my heart and have great memories.
“But, playing against Leinster at the RDS has always been a great challenge, and it is great to go there as well.
“The Irish public’s knowledge about the game is great. They support both teams equally and to tour Ireland is always very enjoyable and I am definitely looking forward to it.”
The match against Leinster will also be a special occasion for the tighthead prop, Aranos Coetzee. The Namibian international front-rower will become the first Cheetahs player to play fifty PRO14 matches.
The Toyota Cheetahs face Leinster on Saturday with kick-off at 16:30.
Toyota Cheetahs touring squad - Wilmar Arnoldi, Craig Barry, Clayton Blommetjies, Aranos Coetzee, Aidon Davis, Luan de Bruin, JP du Preez, Joseph Dweba, Louis Fouche, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Sintu Manjezi, Charles Marais, Chris Massyn, Rabz Maxwane, Tian Meyer, Gerhard Olivier, Ruan Pienaar, Junior Pokomela, Tian Schoeman, William Small-Smith, Chris Smit, Rhyno Smith, Walt Steenkamp, Boan Venter, Reinach Venter, Jasper Wiese.
@MorganPiek OFM Sport