This is the opinion of Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss after his team’s surprising 21-20 loss in their opening game against the Lions in Bloemfontein at the weekend.
“The Lions are a very passionate side and when it works out for them on the day they can beat any side. They will still surprise a few teams in the competition,” predicted Strauss, right.
While it was the best of starts possible for the visitors after a year in the rugby wilderness, it was definitely not the way the Cheetahs wanted to start their campaign.
“I felt we created a lot of opportunities which we unfortunately couldn’t always round off, we will have to put in a far greater performance against the Bulls this weekend,” said the Cheetahs captain. “We were definitely very disappointed and need to be more clinical in our execution.”
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske went even further and described it as their worst performance the last three years, which wouldn’t be exactly true because their superb defence denied the Lions any tries.
“I never got the impression that the Lions once threatened our goalline,” a disappointed Drotske said.
“But last year we also started slow losing to the Sharks and then a big loss of 45-3 against the Chiefs overseas before we won three games in a row on tour.”
Mistakes under pressure cost the Cheetahs dearly, while flank Jean Cook’s yellow card two minutes after he replaced Boom Prinsloo for a late and dangerous charge was a sign of poor discipline.