Munster wary of wounded Cheetahs
PRO14 SPOTLIGHT: After their triumph last Friday, Munster head coach Rassie Erasmus has warned his side to be vigilant against the wounded South African Cheetahs.
The South African Erasmus will know all too well not to underestimate the South African sides, despite their clumsy start and explained the different dynamics within the two teams.
The Cheetahs opened their Pro14 campaign with a heavy 19-42 defeat in Ulster, while the Southern Kings went down 10-57 at Scarlets.
Commenting on the South African sides' performance, Erasmus said: "They are two totally different set ups," he said, explaining: "They Cheetahs are a well-established team that have played seven Currie Cups games together this year – they are second at the minute and last year they won the Currie Cup. They will only get better as they get used to the travel, new opposition, new individuals, new cultures and new competition.
"We have to remember that PRO14 was never televised in South Africa before now and they will take a little while to get fully up to speed. And remember, if one or two more of their passes had stuck up in Ulster it would have been a very close game.
"The same can be said for the Southern Kings obviously but they might take a little bit longer as they are not even playing in the Currie Cup. They did play together in Super Rugby but lost a lot of players to other provinces. But those guys will build quickly and when the return legs come in South Africa, it will be a totally different story and I am in no doubt that both sides will be a wonderful addition to the competition,"
After a great season, the outgoing coach knows the hard work has just begun if they are to repeat the exploits of last season and take it one step further to silverware.
"We have to evolve and for most coaching teams the easiest things to fix are the mechanical things – breakdown, scrum, defence, etc," Erasmus told munsterrugby.ie
"They are not so much skill based, whereas with counter attack – dynamic play and continuity – those things take a bit more time before people are comfortable.
"I never thought we were bad, we were one of the top scoring teams off turnovers, but we were lacking a certain dimension. Therefore myself, Jacques, Jerry and Felix looked at a few things in the off-season. The way the laws are changing the attacking teams are benefitting more and so we are trying to enhance that aspect of our game. Hopefully, you will see more of that in our game this season.
"We had more time to work on it this year with a full nine-week preseason. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and it’s one thing to do it when you are well on top, but the skill is to do it in tight situations and keep believing. Even if it doesn’t work, have the confidence to try it again, but obviously not sacrificing wins at the same time,"
Meanwhile, Munster have lost the services of centre Dan Goggin due to a knee injury
The centre is set to undergo a scan to determine the severity of the knee injury he sustained the in the second half. He is expected to be sidelined for the foreseeable future
Conor Oliver is another on Munster's long-term injury list having undergone surgery last week for the shoulder injury he picked up in pre-season. Following a scan on the ankle injury he sustained in pre-season against Worcester Warriors, Gerbrandt Grobler will meet with a specialist this week.
The weekend saw a return to action for long term rehabber Mike Sherry (back), who played his first PRO14 game since May 2016, with two-try lock Jean Kleyn (neck) and Robin Copeland (shoulder) also returning post-surgery.
Munster director of rugby Erasmus will name his side for round two of the PRO14 on Friday.
Source: munsterrugby.ie & irishrugby.ie