Cheetahs won't get 'greedy'

Tue, 21 May 2013 13:58
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The Cheetahs may be well-placed to challenge for a spot in the Super Rugby play-offs, but they are not getting ahead of themselves.

The Cheetahs may be well-placed to challenge for a spot in the Super Rugby play-offs, but they are not getting ahead of themselves.

Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie, speaking to this website ahead of their trip to Port Elizabeth and a Round 15 encounter with the Southern Kings, they can't afford anymore slip-ups like the recent loss to the Hurricanes.

Heading into this week's encounter with the Kings the Cheetahs have the luxury of "no serious injuries" and everybody available.

It is only flyhalf Johan Goosen [knee] and lock Martin Muller [groin] - both the long-term injuries - that are still in the casualty ward - which means continuity is a big plus.

"We have been very fortunate with it [injuries] this season," Fourie said, adding: "If you field the same team week after week, the chances of silly little errors creeping into the game become less - players know the systems and remember the plays and that makes a huge difference."

But having a settled team and sitting just outside the play-off spots in seventh place means the Cheetahs have it all to do in their remaining matches this season.

Also, the Cheetahs still have to make up the four points from that inglorious loss at home to the Hurricanes.

"We have to come away with a win against the Kings if we want to keep alive our play-off hopes," was Fourie's blunt assessment of this week's game.

"We have looked at the permutations again and while so much can still happen, it appears we still require at least another 13 or 14 points from our next four games [to make the top six]."

It means the Cheetahs have to record at least three wins and some bonus points, or four wins, from their remaining games - the Kings in Port Elizabeth, the Bulls in Bloemfontein, Stormers in Cape Town and Blues in Bloemfontein.

"We simply can't afford anymore slip-ups," Fourie said, when asked about the team's run-on to the play-offs in July.

"All the points we can collect, even bonus points, will be vital.

"There are a host of teams very close to each other - teams like the Reds [fourth on 44 points], Crusaders [42], Blues [41], ourselves [40] and Waratahs [38] - there is certainly a lot at stake [in the coming weeks]."

Asked if the Cheetahs would be chasing additional bonus points in the hope of home ground advantage in the play-offs, Fourie said they or not going to "get greedy".

"I don't think we should look too far ahead, our first goal is to get into the top six," he told this website.

"We [the Cheetahs] have never finished better than 10th in Super Rugby [Free State finished seventh in the 1997 Super 12 competition, before the formation of the Cats]." Fourie said of the post 2006 period that saw the Cheetahs franchise go it alone.

"We don't want to get too greedy - we want to get into the top six and take it from there.

"You have no influence on what the other teams will do, so we can only look at what we can do and what is in our own hands.

"According to our calculations that means we require about 14 points, because the teams will be so close at the end that the difference between the team in fifth and place could as little as be two or three points."

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
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Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
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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