2 minute read
2 Apr 2014
2:33 pm

Ball retention blamed for Cheetahs’ woes

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has identified poor ball retention as the main culprit for his side's abysmal performance on their recently completed tour of Australasia.

Cheetahs coach, Naka Drotske. Picture: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images.

The Bloemfontein-based side lost all four of their matches on tour and will be looking to turn a corner when they face the Chiefs at home on Saturday.

“We couldn’t keep the ball through phases, that was a major factor in the games we lost so far,” Drotske said at the team announcement on Wednesday.

“The second thing is that a lot of 50-50 decisions went against us.

“It is always difficult to win away from home, and if you get three yellow cards and concede 14 to 70 points every time, you have to play catch up rugby.”

Drotske was however encouraged by his side’s performances in the last two matches of their tour.

“The last two games in New Zealand we played fairly well, but you can’t concede yellow cards against sides like the Blues and Hurricanes and think you are going to get away with it,” Drotské added.

He confirmed that Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen had not yet recovered from a neck injury that cut his tour short and would be sidelined for another two weeks.

Oosthuizen’s inclusion would have been a boost for the hosts ahead of what was predicted to be a massive scrum battle.

“We made a decision at training today [Wednesday] after we received the results from his scan this morning,” Drotske said.

“It’s a neck injury so obviously we won’t take any chances. Rossouw de Klerk will come in on the replacement bench in Coenie’s place.”

The Cheetahs have been hit by injuries to their props with Caylib Oosthuizen also unavailable due to a niggle.

Drotske promoted Bok prop Trevor Nyakane to the starting line-up with Caylib Oosthuizen playing off the bench as a precaution.

“Caylib has really scrummed well throughout the season and his work rate is also very good, but he has got a little bit of a hamstring niggle. He should be fine, but we decided to let Trevor Nyakane play the first 60 minutes and Caylib the last 20 minutes.”

Drotske selected Jean Cook at eighthman in the place of the injured Philip van der Walt. He would alternate between the back of the scrum and flanker with Boom Prinsloo.

“On our own ball Boom will be at the back of the scrum and on the opposition ball he packs down at open side flanker,” he said.

“It doesn’t really matter who has the number eight on his back.”

Cheetahs team: Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, Johann Sadie, Ryno Benjamin, Hennie Daniller, Johan Goosen, Sarel Pretorius, Jean Cook, Lappies Labuschagne, Boom Prinsloo, Francois Uys, Lood de Jager, Maks van Dyk, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Trevor Nyakane.

Replacements: Ryno Barnes, Caylib Oosthuizen, Rossouw de Klerk, Andries Ferreira, Teboho Mohoje, Shaun Venter, Elgar Watts, Howard Mnisi.