Cheetahs captain 'touch-and-go'

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 12:30

NEWS: Cheetahs captain Francois Venter is in a race against time to be fit for their crucial Super Rugby Round Six encounter with the Stormers on Saturday.

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith, speaking to rugby365 after their arrival in Cape Town on Wednesday, confirmed that Venter is "touch-and-go" to recover from a minor hamstring strain he picked up in the team's loss to the Sharks last week.

"We will delay the call [on his availability] as late as possible," the coach said.

Wing Sergeal Petersen will be back this week, after pulling out last Saturday morning with a hamstring strain.

The Cheetahs team, to face the Stormers at Newlands, will be named on Thursday, but the call on Venter could be made on matchday.

Smith said his team is playing good rugby, despite recording just two wins in five starts, but letting themselves down.

"I am very disappointed in the two minutes and 38 seconds against the Lions [a 25-28 loss in Round One] that we could not hang on for a win," Smith told rugby365.

"The Jaguares [a 14-41 loss in Buenos Aires in Round Four] was always a tough challenge, but in retrospect, we could have performed much better there.

"We just paid them too much respect.

"Despite the late return [from Buenos Aires] we were disappointed not to have won [a 30-38 loss to the Sharks] last week.

"We felt we did enough to win."

The Cheetahs mentor said he is happy with a lot of aspects of his team's game, but also disappointed with other aspects.

He listed the breakdown as a problem area.

"They [the Sharks] capitalised on our mistakes. We need to be more clinical.

"Having analysed the game I realised we did a lot of good things.

"The stats show we won 18 from 18 line-outs, we make the most line-breaks in the competition, we make many offloads and most metres gained with ball in hand.

"We play some good rugby, I just feel we are just not mature and clinical enough."

By Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com

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