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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