Super Rugby cull: Fear of failure choking Cheetahs

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 13:14

SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: The great Super Rugby cull has been choking up the Cheetahs all season.

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith told rugby365 that rumours of a format change - which was confirmed earlier this week - had been weighing heavily on the shoulders of his players.

From the outset, the grapevine suggested the Cheetahs were one of the teams on the 'shortlist' to be axed when the competition is reduced to 15 teams next year.

Those rumours were confirmed this week when SANZAAR revealed that two teams from South Africa and one from Australia will be cut from the roster next year.

And the South African Rugby Union have started the culling process when representatives of the six Super Rugby franchises on Tuesday agreed to a set of criteria to determine which four teams will represent the country in the competition from next year.

The CEOs of the franchises and other committee members identified the areas on which the teams would be measured.
 
The agreed 'headline' criteria, which have been weighted, include financial and economic sustainability; a sustainable support base; team performance; and stadium and facilities.

SARU will collate the applicable data to prepare a recommendation to go back to the franchise committee, to make a decision on the final four teams.

However, the uncertainty - whether they will face the axe or not - will continue to hover over the Cheetahs, ahead of their Round Eight encounter with the Chiefs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

"From the outset, when the rumours started that we could be kicked out of Super Rugby, we have sat with this 'gorilla' [monkey on the back]," Smith told rugby365.

"It has affected the spontaneity of the players on the field, their creativity.

"Sometimes they tried too hard and try to make the correct decision, instead of just making a decision."

Smith said it is an issue they have had to face for weeks and the players are busy dealing with it.

"It will remain a tough issue to deal with, but I feel the players will believe they can rise above it and express themselves on the field.

"Hopefully we will have set that aside when we run out against the Chiefs.

"We will work on ensuring it doesn't add to the pressure.

"We want to go out and make our supporters proud."

By Jan de Koning
@kings365ed
@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