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Friday, January 13, 2006


Super 14: Cats vs Bulls


It's just a warm-up game ahead of another long season, but Saturday afternoon's clash between the Cats and Bulls will be a make or break affair for a number of men hoping to play Super 14 rugby this season.

With Cats coach Frans Ludeke set to name his 30-man squad after the weekend, a number of players will view the match as a mini trial as they look to impress their boss and find a place among the select group.

Ludeke has named two teams, of more or less equal strength, to take on two teams from the Bulls in two matches, 30 minutes each way.

In the Red team the focus will squarely be on promising prop Heinke van der Merwe (20), a stalwart at Under-21 level who with a solid performance against the Bulls front row could see himself thrust into taking on the best the southern hemisphere has to offer and be Lawrence Sephaka's deputy this term.

Another player in the Red team who'll be keen to show he's far from done with rugby is Springbok lock Jannes Labu-schagne. The big man has been plagued by injury ever since his red carding against England at Twickenham three years ago, but having enjoyed a lengthy break of more than a year out of the game, should add experience and venom to the Cats pack this year, fitness permitting of course.

The performances in the Blue team of fullback Earl Rose, signed from Western Province late last year, and forgotten scrumhalf Dave von Hoesslin will determine whether Ludeke opts for them as first choice back-up to Conrad Jantjes and Ricky Januarie or sends them to the Vodacom Cup ranks.

While there is relatively good depth in all departments in the Cats squad, as there seems to be every year, the one obvious weak link is at flyhalf.

First choice No 10 André Pretorius is still injured and unlikely to feature in the first few rounds of competition, meaning Ludeke will have to bank on the likes of Tiaan Snyman, Nel Fourie and Arno Coetzee.

The trio have had mixed experiences of Super 12 rugby with Snyman yet to convince as an international player and 20-year-old Coetzee yet to even feature at Currie Cup level.

The obvious back-up for Pretorius is Fourie, but Ludeke, somewhat surprisingly, only has him listed among the replacements for this weekend's matches.

It would seem, however, that the Cats boss knows exactly what Fourie can offer and is merely looking at his other options.

It will also be interesting to see if the work done by former Cats and New Zealand coach Laurie Mains - who assisted the team last week - has left its mark and whether Bok assistant coach Allister Coetzee's experience from the Test arena has rubbed off on the backline players.

Matches are at 2.30pm and 4pm. Adults and children pay R10 entrance.

Cats Teams
Red team: Conrad Jantjes; Wylie Human, Grant Esterhuizen, Wayne Julies, Dewey Swartbooi; Tiaan Snyman, Janno Vermaak; Schalk van der Merwe, Wikus van Heerden, Cobus Grobbelaar; Gordon Gilfillan, Jannes Labuschagne, Daniel Muller, James van der Walt, Heinke van der Merwe

White team: Earl Rose; John Daniels, Jaque Fourie, Jorrie Muller, Oginga Siwundla; Arno Coetzee, Dave von Hoess- lin; Pietie Ferreira, Gerhard Vosloo, Roland Bernard; Willem Stoltz, Trevor Hall, Bertus Smit, Lukas van Biljon, Lawrence Sephaka.

Replacements: Edrick van Tonder, Quintin van Tonder, Nel Fourie, John Cooper, Jean Deysel, Kleinjan Tromp, Ettienne Reynecke, Marius Hurter

Injured/undergoing rehabilitation: Ashwin Willemse, André Pretorius, Nicholas Eyre, Russell Winter, Ernst Joubert, Pietman van Niekerk, Heinrich Kok, Doppies la Grange, Ricky Januarie

This is total crap from IOL

If Ludeke doesn't have his squad ready for selection just yet, then he's not a good coach.

This is nothing more than a run in a bit of pretend real rugby to impress the fans as a good PR exercise.

All he really wants to see is how his players perform.

For instance, I reckon people like Lawrence Sephaka and marius Hurter can effectively pencil their names in. So can Nel Fourie. So can Earl Rose.

I agree. I thought of editing to just give the squads, but then maybe some other people would like to comment on teh rest.

So you pulled a keo? Sies man!

I'm with you.

I think the IOL boys are just spinning to make it sound like tomorrow has something riding on it.
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