It's the 'low risk' Cheetahs

Wed, 26 Jun 2013 14:56
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The Cheetahs, requiring one win from their two remaining league matches, will adopt a low risk win-at-all-cost approach to their encounter with the Stormers.

The Cheetahs, requiring one win from their two remaining league matches, will adopt a low risk win-at-all-cost approach to their encounter with the Stormers.

The Cheetahs head to Newlands on Saturday knowing that a win will secure them a place in the play-offs for the first time in their existence.

Their last league outing is against the Blues in Bloemfontein next week, a team who is also chasing a play-offs spot.

"It is a very important game for us, as we are just one win away from securing a spot in the top six [play-offs]," Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie said, adding that they simply can't afford to slip up.

That is why they did not hesitate to race back all their Springboks, even though Trevor Nyakane will play off the bench.

"There is a lot of pressure on us to secure our place in the top six in the next two games and if we can get a bonus point out of one of these games we are in a position where we can finish in the top four. "That would mean we will host one of the play-off matches.

"It is no good looking back afterwards and think: 'If we played these players we could have hosted a game in Bloemfontein'," he said.

The importance of the occasion means the Cheetahs will opt for a 'low risk' game plan this week, especially given the Stormers' renowned defensive structures.

"Our goal is to win this game at any cost," Fourie told this website, adding: "We certainly don't have a pre-set game plan that we must go and get five points - we will be very happy to just win and come away with four points.

"This week is vital to ensure we get [a win to get] into the top six and if we succeed then next week against the Blues we can look at perhaps getting five points, which will give us a great opportunity to finish fourth and host a game in the first round of the play-offs.

"Even if we don't succeed with that [getting a bonus point] or lose next week, we are still in the top six [if we win against the Stormers].

"That is why it will be a low risk [approach] this week, where our only goal is to come away from Newlands with four points."

The Cheetahs do have the advantage that they will collect four points four a buy in the final round of league action.

Of all the teams in the running for the fourth, fifth and sixth places on the table, the Cheetahs and Crusaders appear to be best placed.

The Crusaders face the Highlanders, Hurricanes and defending champion Chiefs in their remaining matches. They have the same number of points (46) as the fifth-placed Cheetahs, but the men from Bloemfontein have one more win to their credit.

The Reds, ahead of the Cheetahs and Crusaders with 54 points, play the Waratahs (seventh, 44 points) in both the Aussie teams' only remaining league fixture.

By Jan de Koning

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