Soul-searching Cheetahs on course
Soul-searching Cheetahs on courseSHARE
The Cheetahs did a lot of 'soul-searching' as they look for the elusive win that will secure them a Super Rugby play-off spot for the first time.
Following their disappointing 3-28 loss to the Stormers at the weekend, the Cheetahs now have to beat the hard-running Blues outfit in Bloemfontein this coming Saturday to secure a top six finish.
It is the Cheetahs' last league fixture, with a bye (and four points) coming in Week 20.
However, they are one win short of a guaranteed play-off place and the Blues are the hurdle to overcome.
"Luckily we do have a second bite at the cherry," Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie told this website – when asked about the men from Bloemfontein's stated goal of securing a spot in the play-offs for the first time since they divorced the Lions (in 2006), after the unhappy marriage that was the Cats.
Fourie described to trip to Newlands last week as a "poor performance".
"We shot ourselves in the foot," he told this website, adding: "All credit to the Stormers, they played well.
"However, we had a good look at ourselves and the general feeling is that we let ourselves down.
"Not once, from set pieces, did we retain the ball through more than three phases before we made a mistake. Against a quality team like the Stormers, especially one with such a sound defence, you simply don't get away with that [kind of performance].
"We also conceded hopelessly too many penalties ."
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské, at the weekend, made mention of the fact that his team always seem to struggle after a break.
The loss to the Stormers was the first round of Super Rugby action since the June international window.
Fourie said they are not sure what causes these post-break lapses.
"We started training last week with the players who were with us and not in the Springbok squad, whereas the week before the [loss to] the Hurricanes [which came after a bye week] we only started training the Monday before the match," Fourie said.
"It is a tough question to answer, as we trained well and the intensity was great.
"On the day we simply didn't pitch [up]," he said, adding: "The first quarter we didn't play too badly, but we didn't score any points.
"We made five errors inside the Stormers 22 that cost us."
By Jan de Koning