Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie has identified five crucial “pillars” which he hopes will help take his team forward to possible entry in the Intercontinental Cup later this year.
The Cheetahs open their Preparation Series this weekend against the Stormers in Cape Town and Fourie said these “pillars” would be part of their preparation for the series.
The “pillars” are: the set-pieces, discipline, penalties conceded, tries scored, and the kicking game.
“We won 80% of our lineout ball in the Currie Cup, so that’s not too bad,” said Fourie. “In comparison, Western Province were the best, with an 87 percent win; we were on 84.
“In the scrums, we got 30 penalties on our feed, Western Province got 40 penalties.”
With regards to the Cheetahs’ defence, Fourie said his team had made a big improvement in terms of their line speed, and it was a big focus to put pressure on the opposition.
“The one area where we lacked was the tackle completion rate which was 80% so that means we missed 20% of our one-on-one tackles, which is an area of improvement for us before the next competition starts,” said Fourie.
Fourie further stated the Cheetahs ranked fourth for number of penalties conceded, while their kicking game has improved, due mainly to the arrival of Frans Steyn.
“Frans had a massive influence, but not only on the younger players, but his experience, his cool head and his no-nonsense approach were superb,” said Fourie.
Looking back at the Currie Cup, Fourie said it was disappointing to have missed out on featuring in the playoffs.
“We missed out by three or four log points,” he said. “There were a lot of individual things that happened in games that you could look back at and say if this happened or that happened, so we could have been there in the end.”
Losing a number of players throughout the season didn’t help the Cheetahs’ cause. “That is one of the biggest reasons in my opinion why we didn’t qualify,” said Fourie.
“The one week we lost both our hookers, and the next week we lost our top tighthead prop and then also our flyhalf, which prevented us from building any momentum,” he said.