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

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Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28