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
Sat, 29 July 2017
Crusaders v Chiefs 07h35 Christchurch
Golden Lions v Griquas 10h00 Johannesburg
Lions v Hurricanes 12h30 Ellis Park
Sharks v Pumas 15h00 Durban
Sun, 30 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Western Province 12h30 Bloemfontein
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 43 | 36
Sat, 22 July 2017
Griquas v Blue Bulls 45 | 51
Stormers v Chiefs 11 | 17
Lions v Sharks 23 | 21
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28