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, 26 May 2017
Blues v Chiefs 07h45 Auckland
Reds v Force 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
Wed, 31 May 2017
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Reds 11 3 0 8 16
Force 11 3 0 8 13
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 12 6 0 6 31
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19