Cheetahs prepared for Kiwi run

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:56

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Cheetahs coach Franco Smith believes there was plenty of value in giving a host of fringe players a run in Buenos Aires last week.

The Cheetahs lost 14-41 - their second defeat in four rounds, after the 25-28 loss to the Lions in Week One.

However, Smith - speaking to rugby365 ahead of their Round Five encounter with the Sharks in Bloemfontein on Saturday - felt the defeat will no bearing on their season.

"It is only round four," the Cheetahs coach said.

"Yes, we wanted to win in Buenos Aires, but it was always going to be a tough travel week," he said of a venture that included two 16-hour trips (from Johannesburg to Buenos Aires via Sao Paulo and the reverse after the game) - which saw them travel nine hours from Johannesburg to Sao Paulo, with a stop-over of more than three hours, followed by another three-hour flight to Buenos Aires.

"I had to look at the next few games in totality.

"A bunch of guys got exposure [at Super Rugby level]," he said of the loss in Buenos Aires, adding: "We now play the Sharks [in Bloemfontein] and Stormers [in CapeTown], then we have a bye, before we face all the New Zealand teams and the Bulls in consecutive weeks.

"It is going to be vital that we can rely on our dept.

"Now I know who are capable of playing at this level.

"Some of those players were also exposed to travelling and they would have learnt not to be disturbed by the week's events and still play well on the Saturday.

"It is important to have that experience."

After this Saturday's encounter with the Sharks, the Cheetahs travel to Cape Town to face the Stormers.

They then have a bye, after which their Kiwi run starts - the Chiefs in Bloemfontein, the Bulls in Pretoria, the Crusaders in Bloemfontein, the Highlanders in Bloemfontein, the Blues in Auckland and the Hurricanes in Wellington.

By Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Fri, 05 May 2017
Hurricanes v Stormers 07h35 Westpac Stadium
Cheetahs v Highlanders 17h00 Bloemfontein
Sat, 06 May 2017
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Northampton Saints v Harlequins 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Wasps v Saracens 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh 22h00 Scotstoun Stadium
Dragons v Cardiff Blues 22h00 Rodney Parade
Zebre v Treviso 22h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ulster v Leinster 22h00 Kingspan Stadium
Munster v Connacht 22h00 Thomond Park
Scarlets v Ospreys 22h00 Parc y Scarlets
Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Kingsholm
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Bristol v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Ashton Gate
Rebels v Lions 05h00 Melbourne
Chiefs v Reds 07h35 New Plymouth
Waratahs v Blues 09h45 Allianz Park
Sharks v Force 13h05 Kings Park, Durban
Bulls v Crusaders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Jaguares v Sunwolves 21h40 Buenos Aires
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MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Waratahs 9 3 0 6 13
Reds 9 2 0 7 11
Force 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 8 1 1 6 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 9 9 0 0 41
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 10
Sunwolves 9 1 0 8 6
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 8 0 1 37
Sharks 9 6 1 2 28
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 20
Kings 9 3 0 6 15