Cheetahs' scrum seeks retribution
There will be a few bruised egos in the Cheetahs pack that will seek retribution when they face the Blues in a decisive Super Rugby match.
There will be a few bruised egos in the Cheetahs pack that will seek retribution when they face the Blues in a decisive Super Rugby match in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The Cheetahs were penalised 14 times in last week's 3-28 loss to the Stormers, but it was in the scrums where the biggest dent was put into their pride.
Not only the five times they were penalised or free-kicked at the set piece, but the poor showing meant they could not get the rest of their game going.
And it is an aspect of their game they hope to rectify when the Blues arrive in Bloemfontein on Saturday - a game both teams must win to keep their play-off hopes alive.
"We were under pressure in the scrums last week," Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie admitted.
"[The result was] we could not launch proper attacks from the scrums," he told this website.
"The line-outs were better, as we launched eight attacks from line-outs.
"However, the longest we retained the ball was three phases."
In general this year the Cheetahs had a good season in terms of scrums, but last week was one of those 'bad days' at the office.
"Three of our front row players are involved with the Springboks," Fourie said, adding: "There are no excuses for that performance. I'm not sure if the guys were not focussed enough and there could be one or two calls where you might differ from the referee's ruling.
"However, we were under pressure in a few scrums, which is something we did not expect."
The Cheetahs' assistant coach said the players are determined to set the record straight.
Although they have worked hard in training this week, Fourie said mentally the players must "switch on".
"I remember last year, before our match against the Crusaders, the Chiefs demolished them. They picked up a lot of flack in the media [about that performance] and the next week they scrummed us off the field.
"Forwards work like that, it is an ego thing.
"They don't want to be seen on TV that they are being dominated by another player, so I'm sure our guys will be back with a bang."
By Jan de Koning