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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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10