Meyer: Cheetahs before country

Bloemfontein - Talented centre Hendrik Meyer has turned down the opportunity of playing World Cup rugby for Namibia because he wants to represent the Cheetahs in the Super 14 competition.

Even though he is regarded as a certainty for the Namibian team to play in France in September, Meyer has informed the administrators in the country of his birth that he will not be available.

"I know everyone wants to play World Cup rugby because it is a major event," Meyer said on Wednesday.

"But I am going to concentrate on my game for the Cheetahs. I have a contract until the end of 2008, and want to settle here.

"As far as I know I can never play for the Springboks (because he has represented Namibia) but it did not affect my decision."

Trained hard

Meyer, who joined the Cheetahs during the 2006 Currie Cup season, said he had never trained as hard as he did in December. He did so to ensure he will play in the Super 14 competition.

"I am really fit. I've lost 4kg since the Currie Cup season and I'm ready for the year ahead. I just hope I'll be selected."

Meyer is seen as one of the possible solutions for the problems the Cheetahs experienced in midfield in last year's Super 14.

However, he has no guarantee that he will be in the starting line-up when the competition begins. Coach Rassie Erasmus also has Meyer Bosman and Herkie Kruger to consider. Alwyn Hollenbach also warrants a look.

Kruger played against Samoa in Kimberley last week and did extremely well. He has also shown that he could be valuable at flyhalf.

New coach

Meyer will turn out in a warm-up match against a combined regional team at Welkom on Saturday, teaming up with JW Jonker in the starting XV. Springbok Marius Joubert is likely to partner Meyer during the second half.

"The Super 14 will be tough," Meyer said, "but I have gained valuable experience in the Currie Cup, which, I hope, will be to my advantage. But I have to get into the team first."

Franco Smith, who began coaching the Cheetahs' backline last year, is expected to introduce some new strategies soon.

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