Cheetahs looking for a 'home run'

Fri, 30 Aug 2013 08:14
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Home wins have been a rare sight in this year's Currie Cup competition, making them all the more valuable now that the competition heads into Round Four.

Home wins have been a rare sight in this year's Currie Cup competition, making them all the more valuable now that the competition heads into Round Four.

Only three home wins in nine matches. That is the telling statistic from the first three round of South Africa's premier domestic competition.

The home wins came from Western Province (15-14 over the Free State Cheetahs), the Blue Bulls (15-9 over Griquas) and the Sharks (33-25 over the Golden Lions).

Not surprising then that coaches are now beginning to put an even higher premium on home wins, as the compacted nature of the domestic season means the Currie Cup is only a week away from the halfway stage.

The Cheetahs, who won away from home in Week One, lost at home last week to the Sharks and are determined to start reversing the trend of away wins when they take on Griquas in a central unions derby in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

"We are under the same pressure as most of the teams," Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie told this website, when asked about the competitiveness of the competition.

"Just Western Province and the Sharks have a slight lead [on the standings]," he said, adding: "The rest of us [four others teams] are separated by just one point."

Fourie said the "pressure is on" to win home games.

"We lost to the Sharks [in Bloemfontein last week], which is unacceptable," Fourie told this website.

"It is vital that you win your home games if you want to remain in the race."

He added that Saturday will be a typical central unions derby in which Griquas will come at their Super Rugby partners "with everything they have".

"They are in a similar position than us and they were unfortunate not to have won against WP," he said of the heartbreaking 19-20 loss suffered by Griquas in Kimberley last week.

"The fact that they are staying over in Bloemfontein on Friday tells us how determined they are, as they have never done that before.

"They are certainly focused on getting a win from this game, having also lost their home game last week."

Fourie also spoke of the need to eradicate the high error count from the Cheetahs' game - especially handing errors.

"It comes down to individuals who didn't play their part in the show," the backline mentor said, adding: "We spent a lot of time getting everybody on the same page, to ensure players know where they should be on attack, know their roles and understand what it is about.

"If you want to play great attacking rugby every player must do his job.

"Last week there were just too many players who went outside the system and that is why we spent so much time on that."

By Jan de Koning

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Team P W D L Pts
Golden Lions 10 10 0 0 48
Blue Bulls 10 8 0 2 39
Western Province 10 7 0 3 35
Free State Cheetahs 10 3 2 5 24
Sharks 10 4 1 5 22
Pumas 10 3 1 6 17
EP Kings 10 2 0 8 12
Griquas 10 1 0 9 8