Cheetahs building a new innings

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:32
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Cheetahs coach Franco Smith played down expectations that his team will automatically transform the Currie Cup success into Super Rugby form.

Speaking to rugby365 ahead of their season opener - against 2016 finalists the Lions - Smith said his team will 'start from scratch' this year.

The Cheetahs coach felt they achieved their pre-season goals, despite taking a slightly different approach this year.

They lost 7-43 to the Stormers in Harare late January and also went down 7-35 to the Sharks earlier this month.

"I attach no value to any of the pre-season results," Smith said, adding that the Super Rugby season is very long and a "massive physical and mental challenge".

"That is why it was important that we did not play too many games," he said, adding that winning was not one of their pre-season goals.

"We wanted to try out new things and give players who had not played in a very long time some game time.

"Most of the guys in that first match against the Stormers had not played for six months," he said, adding: "Only three of the guys who featured in that first match [in Harare] played in the Currie Cup last year.

"The second game [against the Sharks] was used to give game time to the guys who did not play against the Stormers, so that was their first game of the year."

He admitted that the error count in both games was higher than what was expected.

"However, it must be remembered that you can't just continue where you finished the previous year," he told rugby365.

"The most important lesson from these [pre-season] games is that we build up towards a product [winning the completion] in the Currie Cup.

"The [off-season] break meant we lost momentum, so we have to start from scratch to build an innings again."

He admitted there will be expectations from outside the Cheetahs camp, based on the fact that they are Currie Cup champions.

"I don't want to add pressure on the players.

"We have a bunch of players who have played Super Rugby, but are not yet 'Super Rugby players'.

"It will take us another year [to reach that level].

"In saying that, the enthusiasm within the camp is very high, but we have to channel that properly."

By Jan de Koning
@kings365ed
@rugby365com

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 7 4 0 3 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Blues 7 2 0 5 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14
Jaguares 7 3 0 4 12