Currie Cup

Hawies' brief for dependable William Small-Smith: Snuff out Elton's cross-kicks

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William Small-Smith (Gallo Images)
William Small-Smith (Gallo Images)
  • William Small-Smith's return to the Cheetahs' starting line-up is down to being given a specific brief: countering Elton Jantjies' cross-kicks.
  • The dependable utility back is a good defensive readers and should be backed to snuff out that tactic.
  • His selection forms part of a broader theme of experienced players returning for a predominant reason, with Reniel Hugo back at lock to help with a misfiring lineout.

His dependability and leadership will always make him an attractive option to have in one's squad, but William Small-Smith's enlistment at right wing for the Cheetahs' Currie Cup meeting with the Lions on Saturday comes with a specific brief.

It's taken a while for the 28-year-old former Junior Springbok skipper to stake a claim in the starting line-up again, but the lukewarm form of Rhyno Smith and a now customary Elton Jantjies tactic has provided him with an opportunity.

"William's a very versatile player. He's run out on the wing and at centre for us many times before," said Hawies Fourie, the Cheetahs' head coach.

"We believe against Elton, who's a fine tactical kicker and likes launching cross kicks for his wingers, William could be a decent counter tactic.

"He's very sharp on defence and reads those types of plays very well. You have to be a good defender in such a situation. So he'll be entrusted with marshalling the defence in the wider channels."

Fourie also confirmed that Smith's demotion out of the match squad was down to him being played out of position and he'll only be considered at fullback for the foreseeable time.

Small-Smith's return forms part of a broader theme of Fourie boasting a strong core of senior players for the Cheetahs to re-ignite their play-off hopes.

"It's definitely a bonus for us," was the coach's pithy assessment.

Another one of his key grizzled returnees is lock Reniel Hugo, selected on the ticket of sorting out a lineout that's spluttered over the past few weeks.

"Reniel will definitely make a difference for us in the set-pieces. He's a specialist jumper, just like his direct opponent, Marvin Orie, who contests well too," said Fourie.

"We're grateful he's ready to play.

"We've lost crucial lineouts. Sometimes it's just been one or two during a game, but usually it's quite match-defining ones. It's been frustrating and we've been working really hard on it.

"Our lineout is definitely strengthened also with (blindsider) Aidon Davis, who's a good option, and the accurate throw-ins of (hooker) Jacques du Toit. We know how important it is to keep quality ball against the Lions.

"They're a team that will punish you from turnovers. You don't want to give them extra possession."

Kick-off in Bloemfontein is at 16:30.

Teams:

Cheetahs

15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Howard Mnisi, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Aidon Davis, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Carl Wegner (captain), 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Boan Venter

Substitutes: 16 Marnus van der Merwe, 17 Cameron Dawson, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Victor Sekekete, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Dries Swanepoel

Lions

15 Tiaan Swanepoel, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vince Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Willem Alberts, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole

Substitutes: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Mannie Rass, 23 Roelof Smit

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