Cheetahs ready to be No.1

Sun, 21 Apr 2013 15:02
Large raymond rhule   willie le r Large naka drotske presser Large pieter labuschagne cheetahs Large naka drotske gestures Large raymond rhule cheetahs try

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské gelt his side is in a good position to challenge for top honours in the South African Super Rugby conference.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské felt his side is in a good position to challenge for top honours in the South African Super Rugby conference.

Speaking after winning a dour arm-wrestle with the Sharks in dire conditions in Durban at the weekend, Drotské said his team could be SA's shining light for the first time.

A late Willie le Roux try, and a first half score by Raymond Rhule led the Free Staters to a 12-6 win at a wet and cold Kings Park, where two Patrick Lambie penalties either side of the interval had kept the hosts in the game.

The result temporarily moved the visitors to the top of the domestic conference and third overall, but they had slipped to sixth on the combined standings by the end of the weekend, after the Bulls' 34-0 triumph over the Kings in Port Elizabeth.

"I thought if we wanted to compete in the conference and end first, then winning here will be crucial," Drotské said after the win, only the third ever for the Cheetahs on the east coast.

"It was said before the last two weeks we needed to win one of the two, either against the Bulls in Pretoria or here in Durban and it happened.

"So it's a good position to be in, but there's still a long way to go."

The men from Bloemfontein, who have now won six of their last seven matches, have never qualified for the Super Rugby play-offs, with their best position coming in 1997 when they finished seventh in a 12-team format.

"We knew before the season it's going to be tough, starting with the Sharks in Bloem and then the Chiefs, two teams that played in the final last year," he said.

"We were under a lot of pressure, especially after we lost that second game 3-45 [in Hamilton], but the players pulled it back and we won three on tour.

"I guess when you start winning it becomes a habit."

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Fri, 27 May 2016
Hurricanes v Highlanders 07h35 Wellington
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Blues v Crusaders 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Sunwolves 09h40 Canberra
Western Province v Griquas 10h15 Newlands
Blue Bulls v Leopards 12h15 Loftus Versfeld
Stormers v Cheetahs 13h00 DHL Newlands
Namibia v Griffons 13h00 Windhoek
Golden Lions v EP Kings 13h00 Johannesburg
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 14h00 London
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 11 6 0 5 30
Brumbies 11 7 0 4 29
Rebels 10 5 0 5 23
Reds 13 3 1 9 16
Force 11 2 0 9 11
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 42
Crusaders 11 9 0 2 41
Highlanders 11 8 0 3 37
Hurricanes 11 7 0 4 36
Blues 11 6 1 4 29
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Bulls 11 7 1 3 32
Stormers 11 6 1 4 32
Cheetahs 11 3 0 8 16
Sunwolves 11 1 1 9 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 11 8 0 3 37
Sharks 12 7 1 4 35
Jaguares 11 2 0 9 13
Kings 11 1 0 10 4