Cheetahs happy with Kiwi grass

Cape Town - The Cheetahs are chuffed with the new playing surface at the Free State Stadium, after new grass was imported from New Zealand to improve playing conditions.

The surface was in poor condition for the Cheetahs' first Super Rugby game against the Sharks on February 23 this year, which prompted the union to take drastic action.

Unlike other top unions in South Africa, the Cheetahs have no B-field to train on, which means the grass takes an awful amount of strain on a weekly basis.

While the Cheetahs are still busy negotiating with the local municipality over the use of an old hockey field behind the main grandstand, the union used the Super Rugby team's recent four-week Australasian tour to address the problem.

"A lot of effort was done with the grass," Harold Verster, managing director of the Cheetahs Company, told the Volksblad website.

"We did research to make sure the playing surface is up to scratch and we imported the new kikuyu grass from New Zealand."

Verster said they've been looking for an appropriate practice field for six years now, and hope the deal with the hockey field behind the stadium pays off.

He said they also use the fields of Shimla Park, Grey College and Old Greys, but travel distance makes it tough to transport the necessary equipment needed for practices.

Heavy rain fell in Bloemfontein this week, and with a rugby and a soccer match scheduled for the weekend, Verster said he hopes it subsides.

"If it keeps raining then Saturday's rugby and Sunday's soccer will have a impact on the grass.

"The grass is looking very good, but the big challenge will be to keep it like that. The soccer is hosted here on a weekly basis and we're hosting a Springbok Test (against Argentina) here in August. The field will have to be 100% then."

The Cheetahs face the Rebels on Saturday (17:05 kick-off), while Boemfontein Celtic host Kaizzer Chiefs on Sunday (15:30 kick-off).



15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Riaan Smit, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Phillip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane

Substitutes: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Ryno Benjamin