Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Johnson is a CHEETAH!

Hendrik Cronje of Volksblad reported on Tuesday morning that Ashlee Johnson- the SA u21 8th man - has joined the Free State Cheetahs.

The exact duration of his contract is not known at this stage by OORB.

Johnson will compete for the orange and white no 8 jumper against the established Ryno VD Merwe- considered by many as one of the most underrated players in South African Rugby. It will be interesting to see Ryno vd Merwe response on the field.

It seems that Coach Erasmus is not a "sizest" coach as Coach White - and that the 8 th man role in Cheetah rugby is on defense almost as a secondary "fetcher".

Volksblad further report that Pieter De Villiers- the SA u 21 Coach - is of the opinion that the Cheetahs had made an excellent purchase- as Johnson is - "the only 8th man is South African rugby that can take the ball accross the gain line from primary possesion".

It seems that Johnson will have some one on one fitness sessions with the Cheetah fitness coach Jaques Nienaber. Volksblad do not anticipate that Johnson will be in the match 22- against the Lions on Saturday.

It will be interesting to see when Coach Erasmus plays Johnson- as he will - most surely- not be a splinter gatherer. Will the Cheetahs need to change their plays with Johnson at 8? , also of huge interest will be the possibility of the Cheetah CC final hero- Kabamba Floors- playing with Johnson in the same backrow.

If the Cheetahs are sure of tight 5 parity, in scrums, rucks, mauls and lineouts- a loose trio of Scholtz- captain and 7, Johnson - at 8, and Floors might just be an option. OORB are not sure of the competitiveness of Johnson as a "liftable" option at the back of the lineout. A innovation can be to test Johnson at 2 and the Cheetah "Luftwaffe" Meastro- barend Pieterse athe back of the lineout- but this is maybe a bit-pie-in-the-sky advise from OORB.

A lineout specialist loosie can then be on the bench.

This backrow could be extremely effective against teams with explosive backs- also it will protect and retain Oranje posession well at the breakdown- seeing that the Cheetahs are playing a more traditional Vrystaat expansive game in 2006.

So Ashlee- welcome in Bloem.



Great buy indeed.

I always said, you need a class no.8, now you have it in Johnson, and Ryno can play where he is the best, 6.

For the Super 14, with Juan on 7, you will have a lethal back row.
Yes Pissant

he might just turn out to be an inspired addition.

It seems that there is again some unsavouryness about this. The Spears has not yet released anyone of their contracted players- also it seems that the "correct" protocol was not followed in this process.

I just have a feeling that Ashlee Johnson will not be in a Cheetah team before the finalisation of the 22 July Court Case.

Do you know who his agent is- and what his stats are?

I really think that Rassie is an astute and innovative coach- who is ably assisted by Naka Drotske. The way the handle the players - should enable other fence - sitters to make an Oranje- baised decision.

meanwhile - the homegrown talent- if it can be retained- is not that shabby either.

It would be interested to see if he can play himself into a permanent place.

Damn- if we just did not lose Guthro- whe could have played all our Political Pythagoras in the Pack- and - on merit as well.

Have you seen the Cheetah game against the Falcons?
UNfortunately missed the game OO.

The Spears situation is most unfortunate, and at the end of the day, the players suffer.


The Spears have a very strong case, and a solution (should they win) to change the CC setup this year still is in the pipeline (even though it has already started) which will mean that the players like Johnson would have to honour their Spears contracts.

I have some old stats on the guy, he really is a great ball carrier - even though it did not show in the U/21 WC.

He is not great yet, but he will become one of the greatest if managed correctly, and to be honest, Rassie is the best man for that IMO.
Good news for rugger in the States.I have been impressed with Ashley Johnson and believe he is a serious talent.It is an astute purchase by Rassie and will add value to the squad.Best of luck to the lad and with Rassie to learn from he could leave a big footprint on the game in SA.
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