The Cheetahs will have to take to heart the lessons learnt in last week’s two mediocre performances or face a season of heartache.
Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie admitted that some players never turned up mentally for their game against the Southern Kings – when the men from Bloemfontein came from behind, trailing 12-21 at half-time, to eventually win 36-21.
And it didn’t go much better with their midweek side, when the Cheetahs recorded a 31-26 victory over the NMMU Varsity Cup team in Port Elizabeth.
The only positive from the week-long training camp in Jeffreys Bay and PE was that no serious injuries occurred.
It will allow the Cheetahs to field their frontline selection against the Pumas in their final warm-up match in an historic game in Parys on Saturday, before they open their campaign against the newly promoted Lions in Bloemfontein in a fortnight, on Saturday, 15 February.
“There is a lot more [to work on] than we wanted to,” Fourie told Rugby365, when asked about the trip to the Eastern Cape.
“We did not have a good outing against the [Southern] Kings, especially the first half was very poor.”
He said they lost a lot of possession in contact and made errors in executing their plays.
“On the attack those are the areas we need to improve drastically and on defence we did not get into position quick enough when we conceded turnovers,” Fourie said, adding: “They exposed us a number of times and broke our defensive lines.
“In general we did not apply enough pressure on defence – we allowed them to play with ease and do what they wanted to do.”
He admitted that mentally the Cheetahs were not ready for the match against the Kings.
“The guys wanted to do well, but I don’t think everybody was [mentally] switched on for the game,” the backline mentor said.
“The guys may have expected an easy game and in the first half, especially the 20 minutes before the break, we played too individualistic.
“We had a good chat [at half-time], got it right and played a bit more structured in the second half,” he said of the 24-point shut-out after the break.
“There is no doubt we were disappointed with the performance.”
And the coaching staff are just as disappointed with the member of the midweek team, with none of them putting their hands up for a starting spot in the frontline selection.
“The game against NMMU was almost worse than the one against the Kings,” he said, adding: I told them at half-time that it appeared none of them want to play Super Rugby.
“This was their chance to show us and they didn’t take it.
“In general it was a disappointing week.”
Article source: http://sport.iafrica.com/rugby/895538.html