Fly-half fired up for Cheetahs
Sias Ebersohn

Force fly-half Sias Ebersohn is taking tonight's game against his former club very personally.

Being ignored by Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske in favour of Johan Goosen became the driving force behind Ebersohn's move from his Bloemfontein home last season.

He was outspoken after being overlooked and will not be expecting any favours from Goosen, who Drotske has brought back into his side for the Free State Stadium clash.

Ebersohn played 30 games for the Cheetahs and knows all about the conditions at altitude, which will help his kicking game. He needs another eight points to reach a century for the season.

Force coach Michael Foley believes Ebersohn, who is in the best form of his career and has been tipped for Springbok selection, will cope with the pressure.

"I think he'll be keen to run out there and play well," Foley said.

"What's really important is that the guys around him stand up for him.

"What Sias should feel is that there is no point in the game where it's left just to him.

"There are always a number of guys taking a lead.

"That's one of the things we've done reasonably well. We haven't relied on any one person."

Despite a long injury list, Foley has managed to name a squad that is unchanged from the one that beat the Bulls 15-9 two weeks ago.

Every player knows his role, there is a determination about the way they are playing and they have belief in their teammates - attributes that come from winning.

"Guys have to play well (to be selected) but at the same time we've tried to maintain some stability in the team so combinations can develop," Foley said.

"There are already some pretty significant disruptions but finding a way to win shows character and depth in the squad."

The Cheetahs may be bottom of the table but head into the game as favourites.

Foley said the game was a potential banana skin but hoped he could break a three-game losing streak against the Bloemfontein side.

A win would move the Force above the Waratahs, who have the bye, and if the Brumbies lose to the Sharks, the Perth team could move to the top of the Australian Conference.

They will not stray from the defensive game that has proved so successful. They will want to put a stranglehold on any free-flowing attack and make quick use of loose ball.

"A lot of the Cheetahs' tries come from turnovers," Foley said. "They have players that can turn a loose piece of play into points very quickly.

"Defending well depends on how we play at the breakdown.

"The other thing is kicking. The Cheetahs score a lot of their points from unstructured play. When we kick we have to chase well.

"Those two things, as well as defence, will make a big difference but if your attitude is off and your execution is sloppy then you'll get beaten."

The West Australian

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