No excuses for Cheetahs
REACTION: Cheetahs head coach Franco Smith refused to make any excuses for his side's dismal performance against the Stormers on Saturday.
Cheetahs suffered a 10-53 defeat to Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.
The Bloemfontein-based side were a far cry from their usual selves as their conceded eight tries and only managed to score one. They could have been more impressive but individual handling errors took centre stage.
Smith admitted at some stages he could not even recognise his player on the field.
"It was disappointing how we played, but I have to give credit to the Stormers – they were amazing, they line speed, defence, dominating collisions, the width that they found and the offloading were great.
"In terms of my team during some parts I did not recognise my players on the pitch, but that is what pressure does. We had like three or four chances in the first half where we should have scored but we were not clinical enough, individual errors just got the better of us.
"With that being said there is no excuses for our dismal performance. We should get used to pressure, " Smith told reporters after the match.
Captain Francois Venter echoed his mentor's sentiments. The skipper admitted that pressure got the better of them.
"Too many turnovers, their defence stuck and they just capitalised on every opportunity. It was one of those days where everything just stuck for the Stormers.
"Like Franco [Smith] said, give credit where credit is due. They played an amazing game They did put us under a lot of pressure. The more we tried the more mistakes we made," Venter said.
Despite his side's third consecutive loss, since their win against the Sunwolves in Round three, the Cheetahs' mentor Franco Smith saw a silver lining in the defeat and praised Stormers' ball-in-hand approach.
The coach revealed that it could only be beneficial for South African rugby fraternity, as teams start to take the attacking 'responsibility'.
"It’s one thing to give Paul Feeney credit, but we also have to acknowledge Robbie Fleck and Gert Small for allowing him to come and take a chance and move away from the divisional South African way.
"We have proven that South Africans have the ability to play with the ball in hand and that excites me. If we want to win as a South Africa community that is the way to go - the whole world has already adapted to that way.
"In the past, we have always been criticised because it was viewed as taking a risk and it is not – it is taking responsibility," Smith stated.
Cheetahs have a bye this week before locking horns with inform Chiefs on April 15 in Round Eight at home.
By Leezil Hendricks