Cheetahs have a lot to offer to SA Rugby
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Cheetahs feel they have too much to offer South African rugby to be axed from Super Rugby.
Cheetahs coach Franco Smith, speaking to rugby365 ahead of his team's trip to Pretoria for a Round Nine encounter with the Bulls, admitted he is having to work very hard to get his players in the right frame of mind.
Smith said he is getting tired of all the talk that his team is "competitive" and bitterly disappointed that they squandered a healthy 24-0 lead after a blistering start against the Chiefs last week.
Despite suffering their fourth consecutive defeat (their fifth in seven matches), the Cheetahs mentor felt his team was making progress every week.
However, they are not kicking on and finishing off the opposition.
"In five of the seven games we were still in the contest going into the last 10 minutes," he told rugby365.
"That mental issue is something we have to address and something I am working very hard at with our mental coach - to eradicate these barriers from our game," Smith said, adding that the reality of the Super Rugby axe that is hovering over his team is not an excuse, but an issue they have to deal with.
It will not get any easier against the Bulls, who are coming off an impressive win against the Jaguares last week - a result that halted a three-match losing streak by the Bulls.
"The Bulls will target all their home games to get their campaign back on track," the Cheetahs coach said.
"We will continue with our goal of walking off the field [after a game] as a better team.
"I feel we have a lot to offer South African rugby and playing the Bulls at Loftus [Versfeld] and winning will be fantastic."
By Jan de Koning'