Cheetahs prize attack more than defence

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 13:18

REACTION: The Cheetahs will always put a higher premium on attack than on defence.

Following their hard-earned 38-31 win over the Sunwolves in Bloemfontein at the weekend, Cheetahs coach Franco Smith admitted that certain aspects of their game require some work.

However, he dismissed the notion that their defence was an issue.

The teams scored four tries each, but Cheetahs flyhalf Fred Zeilinga kicked three conversions and four penalties (18 points) as opposed to the Sunwolves No.10 Hayden Cripps who succeeded with four conversions and one penalty (11 points).

Smith made it clear that his team will not change their approach to the game and will continue to build an 'expansive' brand.

"If you play Super Rugby, other teams WILL score tries, that is how it works," Smith said.

"In the Northern Hemisphere the game is about 'out-pressuring' [applying more pressure than the opposition] each other.

"If you want to win in Super Rugby or the Rugby Championship you must outscore the opposition - that is just how it works."

He said that while defence is important, the Cheetahs still lean towards an attacking mindset.

"I am very happy with our defence," Smith said, adding: "I did feel our line-speed wasn't great and we didn't win the collisions as much as we wanted to."

He admitted his team have 'lingered a bit longer' in their impressive win over the Bulls (34-28) the week before, but denied that complacency was an issue.

"The important lesson for us this week is that after a big win or a high where you're really on top of it, in a Super Rugby game you can't linger on that till the Wednesday.

"You have to start immediately again [at training] and I think some of the errors made [against the Sunwolves] maybe symbolised that.

"But there are no excuses and we're really happy about the win. We'll look forward to the next one and use the positives and negatives."

He said that the Sunwolves are not a bad team and despite some lopsided results - a 17-92 loss to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last year and a 17-83 loss to the Hurricanes in Tokyo this year - the Japanese franchise are going to cause a few upsets along the way.

Last year the beat the Jaguares 36-28 in Tokyo and drew with the Stormers (17-all) in Singapore.

The Sunwolves gave a spirited display in Bloemfontein at the weekend and Smith praised coach Filo Tiatia for his masterful tactics.

"I'm very excited about the win. That's the main thing," Smith said.

"A lot of people thought that it was going to be a roll-over. I knew it was going to be tough.

"They were very smart at picking a bunch of guys that hadn't played in the first two games and bringing energy to the group."

Smith said the Sunwolves slowed the game down very well, taking their time getting to set pieces.

"They were standing in the middle of the line-outs, dropping scrums and taking their time resetting them.

"It was really well-planned and their strategy was excellent.

"There was enough encouragement for them having lost here last year with a lot of points," Smith added.

The Cheetahs are next in action when they take on the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

@rugby365com

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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