Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby journalist
2 minute read
7 Mar 2016
2:58 pm

Tough times ahead for the Cheetahs

Rudolph Jacobs

The going is certainly getting tough for the Cheetahs after losing their opening two matches of the Super Rugby competition – and then have to fly out to Singapore this week for their first away game against the Sunwolves on Saturday.

Schalk Burger of the DHL Stormers during the 2016 Super Rugby match between Toyota Cheetahs and DHL Stormers at Toyota Stadium on March 05, 2016 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images)

With only one point to show after their opening two losses of 34-33 against the Jaguares and then 20-10 against the Stormers last weekend, their solitary point comes courtesy of losing by less than seven against the Jaguares.

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith will however look for the positives with the try-tally 4-4 against the Jaguares and 1-2 against the Stormers for a 5-6 return after their first two matches having scored 43 points, but conceded 54 for a negative points aggregate of -11.

“While our scrums looked good against the Stormers and the Jaguares, we got badly beaten in the lineouts against the Stormers and we gave away penalties too easily,” lamented Smith.

The Cheetahs scrums have indeed underwent a transformation since last season when they were penalised heavily in the scrums and enjoyed the upperhand against both the Jaguares and the Stormers, although the Stormers got their own back a bit in the second but only after Oli Kebble and Vincent Koch was replaced by JC Janse van Rensburg and Frans Malherbe.

The Cheetahs next four games will be crucial in their effort to remain competitive in the Africa1 Conference where they are competing with frontrunners the Stormers, the Bulls and the Sunwolves.

After their away trip to Japan this weekend the Cheetahs return only to be faced with another tough away game against the high-riding Lions, followed by a home clash against the Aussie Conference leaders the Brumbies and then will have to travel to Loftus for a game against the Bulls before their first bye comes around in Round 7.

So far the Lions are top try-scorers in the African group with eight, while the Stormers have conceded the fewest tries with just one against them which was the try scored by Cheetahs captain Francois Venter last weekend.

The tries scored for and against are: the Lions 8-5; Sharks 7-3, Bulls 6-7, Stormers 5-1, Cheetahs 5-6 and the Kings 1-6.

This weekend the Lions play away to the Highlanders in Dunedin before returning home, the Bulls have a bye, the Stormers host the Sharks, the Kings will welcome the Chiefs while the Sunwolves play host to the Cheetahs.

Of the overseas matches this weekend the Blues host the Hurricanes and the Brumbies visit the Force on Friday, while on Saturday the Rebels host the troubled Reds.

*Four teams have a bye this weekend – the Bulls, Crusaders, the Jaguares and the Waratahs.