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.


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Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 05h05 Sydney
Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Lions v Blues 35 | 38
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 3 3 0 0 15
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Waratahs 3 1 1 1 6
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4