Cheetahs looking to be second best

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:51
Large willie le roux   sarel pret

The Cheetahs may effectively be out of the Super Rugby play-off race, but they still have a big 'prize' in their sights.

The Cheetahs may effectively be out of the Super Rugby play-off race, but they still have a big 'prize' in their sights.

While a top-six tournament finish appears beyond their grasp, finishing second in the South African conference remains a very realistic goal for the team from Bloemfontein.

The Sharks are run-away leaders on the SA standings with 27 points after seven matches - followed by the Bulls (18 points from eight matches), the Lions (16, eight), Cheetahs (nine, eight) and Stormers (six, seven).

Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie, speaking to this website ahead of their Round 10 encounter with the Sharks in Durban, said they have amended their goals for the season after last week's 31-52 loss to the Crusaders left them hovering in second-last place on the standings.

"We spoke about our goals," Fourie said, adding: "We feel we still have a realistic chance to finish second in the South African conference."

Of their eight remaining games, six are against South African teams - Sharks (in Durban), Stormers (Bloemfontein) and Bulls (Pretoria), before two matches against overseas visitors (the Western Force and Brumbies both in Bloemfontein), followed by another three matches against SA opposition, the Stormers (Cape Town), Sharks (Bloemfontein) and Lions (Johannesburg).

"Our goal now is to finish second on the SA conference," he said, adding that they realise they need to improve drastically in certain aspects of their game.

"We are simply making far too many mistakes.

"The Crusaders [last week] scored four of their tries after our errors, from turnovers at the breakdown or in contact," Fourie said of their 31-52 loss in Bloemfontein - after they held a 31-26 lead going into the final quarter.

"In another instance the players we just not switched on at a free kick and the quick tap resulted in a try.

"Those are mostly small things with which we put ourselves under pressure - we are working hard on eradicating those errors."

The Cheetahs backline coach said they feel their defence has been improving in recent weeks, despite leaking 12 tries in their last two matches - four tries in the last quarter against the Chiefs and four in the last 20 minutes against the Crusaders as well.

"Critics will point to the scoreboard, but many of those tries have nothing to do with our defence, but rather comes from turnovers on attack and the breakdown when we don't have time to regroup on defence," the Cheetahs' assistant coach said.

"While we are continuing to work on our defence, it is on attack where we need to start looking after our possession much better and not concede as many turnovers."

By Jan de Koning

There are currently no matches being played
Sat, 29 October 2016
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 14h00 Allianz Park
Ospreys v Dragons 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Harlequins v Worcester Warriors 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leinster v Connacht 16h15 RDS Arena
Sun, 30 October 2016
Wasps v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Bristol v Sale Sharks 15h00 Ashton Gate
Exeter Chiefs v Bath 15h00 Sandy Park
Fri, 04 November 2016
Treviso v Cardiff Blues 19h15 Stadio Monigo
Dragons v Connacht 19h15 Rodney Parade
Munster v Ospreys 19h35 Irish Independent Park
Edinburgh v Ulster 19h35 BT Murrayfield
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9