Cheetahs not on a bonus-point rush

Tue, 23 Aug 2016 10:55

REACTION: The Free State Cheetahs will look to build on their early season momentum and become more consistent.

Chasing their first Currie Cup title since 2007, the men from Bloemfontein got off to a flying start with back-to-back bonus-point victories - over the Boland Cavaliers (44-16) and Blue Bulls (43-20) - before making a big statement with a 32-25 win over Western Province at Newlands this past weekend.

With the defending champion Golden Lions, who had a bye in Week One, having lost to Griquas this past weekend, it meant the Cheetahs and Sharks have opened a handy gap at the top of the standings in a shortened season.

The Sharks, with three consecutive bonus-point victories, shade the Cheetahs on the standings - 15 points to 14.

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith dismissed the notion that the 'lost' bonus point at Newlands could be an issue.

He also said that while momentum is important, they see every week as a new challenge.

"While momentum does play a role, our challenge is to be consistent every week," Smith told rugby365 in an interview.

"Free State have been inconsistent for a long time. That is why consistency is our main topic at the moment."

He said the fact that the Cheetahs did not get a bonus point in Cape Town this past weekend is also not a major concern.

"It would have been unrealistic to have gone to Newlands and expect a bonus point win," he said, adding: "There are three players in this team who have previously won at Newlands and that was not even in a Free State jersey.

Our main objective was to get a win [at Newlands] and repeat our performance from the previous week," he said of their demolition of the Bulls in Round Two.

"The bonus point [we did not get] is not the end of the world.

"There will be opportunities [in the coming weeks] and if we continue to play well it will not be an issue."

He said there were no serious injuries after the win at Newlands, other than "a few bumps and bruises".

"We have a break [bye] and then we'll have a good idea who will be available," Smith told rugby365, adding that a number of players could return from injury.

Wing Sergeal Petersen, who suffered a knee injury in the opening round encounter with the Boland Cavaliers, is recovering well.

Captain and centre Francois Venter is making good progress from his injury, while Danie Minnie is also on the road to recovery.

"There will be a number of players who will become available," Smith said of their Round Five encounter with the Eastern Province Kings in Bloemfontein on September 3.

By Jan de Koning
@King365ed
@rugby365com

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Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 14h00 Paris
Fri, 28 April 2017
Ospreys v Ulster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 22h00 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Scarlets 22h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Dragons 22h00 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 RDS Arena
Treviso v Munster 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
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Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
Bulls v Jaguares 26 | 13
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 8 8 0 0 39
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
Western Province 8 5 0 3 27
Golden Lions 8 5 0 3 26
Sharks 8 5 0 3 25
Griquas 8 4 0 4 21
Boland 8 2 0 6 11
Pumas 8 1 0 7 10
EP Kings 8 0 0 8 1