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, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
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
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
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
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10