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
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 09h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 09h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 11h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 11h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 14h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 09h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 09h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 11h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 11h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 14h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 5 0 7 28
Waratahs 12 4 0 8 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 12 1 1 10 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 13 0 0 59
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 48
Highlanders 13 10 0 3 45
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 34
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19