Cheetahs can't get over mental block

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 17:34

SUPER RUGBY REACTION: The Cheetahs' struggles with the mental demands of the imposing reduction in Super Rugby teams continues to play a massive role in their inability to finish off games.

According to coach Franco Smith, the Cheetahs have held a 74th minute lead in six of their eight matches but the weight of expectation that has been placed on their shoulders seems to be taking its toll.

"We are doing great things right but in the vital period of the game, we look at the scoreboard, we take into consideration all the support we have and unfortunately if you speak about it all the time, subconsciously it becomes a threat. 

"Unfortunately, we are playing not to lose instead of continuing to look to win. At this level, it is tough to deal with. The way we start, the way we play and the way we physically put ourselves out there, shows there is a lot of belief and a lot of good players developing. 

"We are staring into the barrel. We had a four-year plan, all the right things are happening and now the mental aspect is hindering us a little bit. We are trying to deal with it to put it one side but unfortunately, we keep making panic errors

"I think we made two or three vital errors that we had to handle differently. We have now been in six matches where we were in the lead in the 74th minute. I tip my hat to the players though and I think they deserve more for their efforts, so it is disappointing," Smith said.

Things will not get any easier for the Cheetahs as they now head home to face a tough task of hosting the Crusaders.

"We are going to play to where we are strong. It won't be difficult to get the guys up for the game but it is important to bounce back with the right attitude. It's going to be important to recover well, plan properly and we are excited to prepare for the next game. 

"These guys deserve a win, they have come a long way and have grown as players. We have to grab the opportunity [of playing against New Zealand teams] by the horns," he added.

Cheetahs captain Francois Venter remains confident that his side may just pull off an upset if their attitude is correct.

"We need to go out with the right attitude and focus on our strengths. A New Zealand side is a quality side but if we remain focused, keep the ball and put them under pressure like we did against the Chiefs, then we can maybe cause an upset. 

"They are coming to Bloemfontein maybe thinking it is going to be easy and we are going to go all out and are excited to play against the best," he said.


There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 24 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Ulster v Treviso 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 18h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Leinster v Dragons 18h35 RDS Stadium
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 18h45 Kingston Park
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 18h45 Welford Road
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Sat, 25 November 2017
Bath v Harlequins 11h15 Recreation Ground
Italy v South Africa 13h00 Rome
Scotland v Australia 14h30 Cardiff
England v Samoa 15h00 Twickenham
Wales v New Zealand 17h15 Cardiff
Ireland v Argentina 17h30 Aviva Stadium
Cheetahs v Edinburgh 17h30 Bloemfontein
France v Japan 19h00 Paris
Sun, 26 November 2017
Zebre v Munster 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Kings v Scarlets 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 14h00 Allianz Park
London Irish v Wasps 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28