- Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie has praised his charges for their off-field discipline in minimising their potential exposure to Covid-19.
- But he admits that the Bulls-Griquas cancellation has reinforced the need to keep up that behaviour.
- Fourie is wary of the threat posed by a Pumas outfit that's been competitive and unlucky.
Discipline on the field might be a problem for the Cheetahs currently, but off it, it's been relatively exemplary.
While he'll hope he doesn't jinx his charges, head coach Hawies Fourie has praised the central franchise's players for doing their best to minimise their exposure to Covid-19.
With the country in the grip of a proverbial second wave of infections, Thursday's announcement that the Bulls' Currie Cup meeting with Griquas has been cancelled due to virus protocols has provided local teams with a stark reminder of their responsibilities.
To date, the Cheetahs have only had two players testing positive, notably new recruit Andisa Ntsila, who was actually the first professional player in South Africa to contract the virus back in July.
"As I'm speaking to you all, I've just actually heard about the Bulls game," said Fourie on Thursday, ahead of the Cheetahs' trip to Nelspruit to play the Pumas on Friday evening.
"It's just shows us again that we all have to be aware of the risk. It's definitely an issue we discuss weekly."
That translates into some proactive planning.
"We plan our activities in such a way that there's as little interaction between the players as possible," said Fourie.
"We're really very cautious. We as management are also quite tough on the players in terms of their movements, imploring them to stay out of malls and restaurants and upholding that type of discipline too.
"To date, our players have been really good with that. We've only had two positive test and I'm proud of that. We'll do our best to try and keep it that way."
Meanwhile, Fourie's seemingly vulnerable charges are fully aware of the threat posed by Jimmy Stonehouse's Pumas, who've been competitive throughout.
"The Pumas are a pretty difficult team to face anywhere this season. They did very well against Province and performed brilliantly with a weakened squad against the Bulls," said the Cheetahs mentor.
"They're a team that's very physical and they have some great ball-carriers at the back. It's a dangerous combination. You don't want them to gain a sniff of an advantage, they'll exploit it."
Kick-off is at 19:00 on Friday.
15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Etienne Taljaard, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Devon Williams, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 6 Daniel Maartins, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuuren (captain), 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Ignatius Prinsloo, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Morgan Naude.
Substitutes: 16 Abraham le Roux, 17 Dewalt Maritz, 18 Wikus Groenewald, 19 Darrien Landsberg, 20 Ewart Potgieter, 21 Ginter Smuts, 22 Tiaan Botes, 23 Wayne van der Bank
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 William Small-Smith, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Ruben de Haas, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Aidon Davis, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Carl Wagner (captain), 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Boan Venter
Substitutes: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Cameron Dawson, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 Oupa Mohoje, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Rhyno Smith