Cheetahs shot themselves in the foot

Wed, 15 May 2013 19:32
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The Cheetahs are determined to bounce back with a vengeance when they face a very dangerous Reds side on Saturday.

The Cheetahs are determined to bounce back with a vengeance when they face a very dangerous Reds side on Saturday.

Having slipped out of the top six places, after almost two months in the play-off positions, the team from Bloemfontein knows another defeat like last week's loss to the Hurricanes could spell trouble as they chase their first-ever play-off spot.

The bonus-point loss did have some consolation - with the Cheetahs still second in the South African conference (seventh overall) - with the Bulls carrying the SA flag (on 41 points), followed by the Cheetahs (36), Stormers (30), Sharks (29) and die Southern kings (20).

The Cheetahs have a tough run-in to the play-offs - with the Reds (in Bloemfontein) this week, the Southern Kings (away), Bulls (at home), Stormers (away) and Blues (home) as their remaining fixtures.

That is why last week's loss could prove to be so costly.

"We shot ourselves in the foot," Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie told this website.

"We didn't play well and threw away a golden opportunity to improve our position on the standings.

"As a result we have now placed ourselves under additional pressure."

Fourie said having an off day happens to any team in the competition and pointed to the Kings - who had an very bad day against the Waratahs (a record 10-72 loss) and then bounced back the last week to beat the Highlanders.

"We require a similar reaction," Fourie told this website, adding: "We are facing a team that is much better than the Hurricanes.

"The Reds are a very good team, well coached and with no weaknesses.

"However, this year we have had some good wins against quality teams like the Stormers and the Sharks.

"We believe we can do it and we must bounce back immediately."

The Cheetahs backline mentor admitted that the team's defence was well below the standards they had set earlier in the season, but didn't feel that was the main reason for their loss.

"For me it all started with our kicking game," he said, adding: "Tactically we kicked very poorly and did not stay with the tactics we planned ahead of the game.

"Everybody knows the Hurricanes are a very dangerous team from turnovers and deadly with their counter attacks.

"The plan was to kick the ball out into the stands and not give them a chance for quick restarts, or to launch counter attacks.

"Also, between the 22-metre line and halfway we needed to kick contestable kicks.

"We didn't stay with the plan and also our execution wasn't good enough.

"That put our defence under pressure.

"Later in the game, when we went behind, we started playing in our own half to get back into the game and ended up conceding another try to Victor Vito, which just added to the pressure.

"Tactically we weren't very good and made plenty of errors."

By Jan de Koning

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26