Currie Cup

Is this the man who'll kick-start the traditional Cheetahs try-scoring machine?

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Evardi Boshoff in action for UCT. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
Evardi Boshoff in action for UCT. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
  • In hindsight, the Cheetahs' biggest loss from 2020 has been midfielder Benhard Janse van Rensburg but head coach, Hawies Fourie, believes his void might finally be filled.
  • The central franchise has enlisted Ikeys star Evardi Boshoff to start at No 13 in Saturday's central Currie Cup derby against Griquas.
  • Tantalisingly, Fourie highlights the 22-year-old's ability to find gaps and create play as one of his big strengths. 

Hindsight is an exact science, but if there's one man the Cheetahs have sorely missed since he joined South Africa's overseas exodus it's Benhard Janse van Rensburg.

The powerful midfielder was a key figure in the central franchise's Currie Cup title triumph in 2019 and performed with distinction in 2019/20's truncated PRO14 campaign.

It probably wasn't a coincidence that the Cheetahs started to struggle once Janse van Rensburg, along with Jasper Wiese and Walt Steenkamp left after the first three rounds of last year's Super Rugby Unlocked.

But, as the Cheetahs commence their 2021 Currie Cup tilt on Saturday against Griquas in Kimberley, Hawies Fourie is hopeful he's belatedly found an answer to the void.

Teams:

Griquas

15 Coyi Banda, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 Jay-Cee Nel, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Stefan Ungerer (captain), 8 Hanru Sirgel, 7 Sibabalo Qoma, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Jeandre Leonard, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 Janco Uys, 1 Andrew Beerwinkel

Substitutes: 16 HJ Luus, 17 Andrew Kuhn, 18 Janu Botha, 19 Mzwanele Zito, 20 Henco Beukes, 21 Raegan Oranje, 22 Theo Boshoff, 23 Ederies Arendse

Cheetahs

15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Evardi Boshoff, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Tian Meyer, 10 Reinhardt Fortuin, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Gideon van Wyk, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Jean Droste, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Victor Sekekete, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Cameron Dawson

Substitutes: 16 Janus Venter, 17 Alulutho Tsakweni, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Renier Viljoen, 20 Luan Potgieter, 21 Mihlali Mosi, 22 David Brits, 23 Cohen Jasper

Evardi Boshoff is currently only contracted until the end of September, but much hope is being invested in the 22-year-old outside centre, one of the stars of Ikeys' promising Varsity Cup showing.

"The interesting thing about him is that he's actually quite an experienced player already despite his age," Fourie, the Cheetahs' director of rugby, said on Thursday.

"Evardi made almost 20 appearances for the Leopards in the Currie Cup's First Division and he's played two Varsity Cups for NWU-Pukke. We all know also of his influence in this year's competition for Ikeys."

Boshoff, in all likelihood, beat Maties skipper and fellow No 13 David Brits to the Cheetahs jersey though it's the former's similar game to Janse van Rensburg that proved decisive in Fourie's decision.

"What impresses me about Evardi is that he has the ability to keep the ball alive in contact and how he's footwork helps him exploit space. He's a guy that can find a gap," said the Cheetahs mentor.

"Evardi isn't a proverbial crash-baller. He's a play-maker, a guy that creates opportunities for the players next to him. Those are the skills that I usually want from one of my centres.

"We've missed Benhard a lot since his departure, but I believe in Evardi we've found a player who could fulfil a similar role."

While Boshoff won't have the experience of Frans Steyn, who's with the Springboks, alongside him to bank on, few rookies will complain about Howard Mnisi as a midfield partner.

Kick-off is at 13:00. 

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