Super Rugby uncertainty playing on Cheetahs' minds

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 15:16

REACTION: Cheetahs head coach Franco believes his team's uncertain future in Super Rugby contributed to their 30-38 loss to the Sharks in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

It is widely expected that SANZAAR will trim the number teams from 18 to 15 in favour of a revamped Super Rugby competition after widespread criticism for the current convoluted format.

It is believed that two teams from South Africa and one from Australia will be cut to make this happen. The Cheetahs are one of the three teams expected to face the chopping block in the coming days.

Smith believes all the talk and the speculation has added "unnecessary pressure" to his team's current campaign.

"I am disappointed," Smith told reporters after the loss to the Sharks.

"I felt we made too many mistakes. It's an old story - we looked nervous. 

"I know that there is a lot of pressure. Some of it is a little bit forced with the whole question about the franchise...some of it is from outside which we can't control, but the guys don't want to disappoint and I could see it in the way they played. There are errors we made that we never do.

"Once we were up 20-15, I felt we were playing to not lose instead of playing to win and I believe that there is a lot of pressure on us. 

"There is a lot of talk about this franchise thing and we don't want to disappoint."

Smith says his team deserves their place in Super Rugby.

"We believe we merit to stay in this competition. The whole of the central part of South Africa merits this franchise.

"I think we must just put that [defeat] behind us this week and really focus and concentrate on what we can control. 

"We are a good side. We are a good team. We are better than we were tonight [Saturday] and I feel outside influences did influence some of the decision making. It is tough but it is something we have to deal with and hopefully a decision will be made soon," Smith added.

Smith's long-term plan to make the Cheetahs a powerhouse in the South Hemisphere might never be accomplished if they are to be cut from the competition.

"We started 20 months ago with a plan to become a sustainable good franchise here and now we are only in our second Super Rugby season - we are five games down the trot [this year] and we have been putting out good performances and I think it is unnecessary pressure that is now added. 

"But we are going to fight that. We want to keep every Cheetahs supporter happy and give them the best chance to be part of this and I know what impact it is having on a lot of decisions and the doubt that it is bringing.

"The reasons behind this is uncontrollable and we need to control our controllables better.

"We just need to play the best brand we can and keep on winning with the brand that we are playing and leave our hearts on the field." said Smith.

@rugby365com

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Sat, 18 November 2017
Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints 12h00 Sixways
Italy v Argentina 13h00 Florence
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Wales v Georgia 14h30 Cardiff
England v Australia 15h00 Twickenham
Wasps v Newcastle Falcons 15h30 Ricoh Arena
Ireland v Fiji 16h30 Aviva Stadium
Scotland v New Zealand 17h15 Edinburgh
France v South Africa 19h45 Paris
Sun, 19 November 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins 14h00 Sandy Park
Leicester Tigers v Bath 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Fri, 24 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Ulster v Treviso 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Leinster v Dragons 18h35 RDS Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 18h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 18h45 Kingston Park
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 18h45 Welford Road
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 17 November 2017
Gloucester v Saracens 23 | 17
Tue, 14 November 2017
France XV v New Zealand 23 | 28
Sat, 11 November 2017
France v New Zealand 18 | 38
Ireland v South Africa 38 | 3
Wales v Australia 21 | 29
England v Argentina 21 | 8
Scotland v Samoa 44 | 38
Italy v Fiji 19 | 10
Sat, 04 November 2017
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 37 | 8
Connacht v Cheetahs 23 | 15
Edinburgh v Ospreys 37 | 10
Barbarians v New Zealand 22 | 31
Kings v Ulster 36 | 43
Japan v Australia 30 | 63
Fri, 03 November 2017
Scarlets v Treviso 20 | 8
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