Cheetahs on the right path to success

Sun, 16 Oct 2016 11:16
Large nico lee v golden lions semifinal 800

REACTION: The Free State Cheetahs produced some of their best rugby in recent years during their 55-17 semifinal win over the Golden Lions and captain Francois Venter believes they are on the cusp of a new era in Bloemfontein.

The Cheetahs have dominated this year's Currie Cup tournament with eight wins from eight in the round-robin phase before hammering the Lions at the Free State Stadium on Saturday.

They will now meet the Blue Bulls in the Final in Bloemfontein and while winning the title will be their top priority next weekend, Venter believes that they can go on and achieve bigger things under head coach Franco Smith. 

"There is still a lot of work to be done," Venter told reporters after the match.

"We don't just want to win the Currie Cup, we want to go on and be significant so there is a lot of work and we must carry on and try to get better."

Venter said their attacking play has taken on a new dimension under Smith in the last 18 months.

"The first day he pitched he threw out the ball and said 'go play' and we did not know what to do and now we can't play from structured attack so that is a huge compliment to the coaching staff. 

"We have been working hard to play off each other and  we are working on playing without losing the ball, especially at ruck time. When you play an expansive offloading game, you can be neutralised by losing the ball at ruck time and that is the thing we are getting right," Venter added.

The Cheetahs also put in a spirited display on defence against a dangerous Lions outfit and Venter said it stemmed from their belief in each other under Smith's watch.

"Defence is a very individual thing - we are making each other unbelievably strong. We worked very hard from the start to defend in a certain way. 

"At the start, it was difficult to adjust because you were trained in another system, but we all make each other strong. If I miss a tackle I know the guy next to me will make it, so it is all about working together and I think we are getting it right," said Venter.

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