The 'massive' improvement Cheetahs coach is demanding
Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie has set his team some lofty goals, despite having already booked a home semifinal with three rounds of Currie Cup league action still remaining.
The defending-champion Bulls (42 points after 10 games) are ahead of the Cheetahs by a single point, but the Bloemfontein-based outfit has a game in hand.
With the Sharks a distant third on 24 points from 10 games, the Bulls and Cheetahs are in a two-horse race for first place.
The next round of league matches – a fortnight from now – will see the Bulls host the Pumas on Friday, May 27, in Pretoria.
Griquas host the Cheetahs in Kimberley on Saturday, May 28.
However, the decisive match may well be June 11, when the Cheetahs host the Bulls in Bloemfontein.
Fourie, speaking after his team’s 44-15 demolition of the Sharks at the weekend, said finishing top of the standings remains a priority for the team – with hosting a possible Final at a premium.
The coach said there is no need to ‘rest’ any players ahead of the play-offs, given the fractured nature of the Currie Cup competition – with plenty of breaks scattered throughout the early parts of the season.
“We will definitely not rest anyone,” he told @rugby365com.
“We need to improve by at least 20 to 30 percent,” the coach added.
“When we reach the play-offs, we will probably face the full United Rugby Championship teams of the opposition.
“We know there is plenty of room for improvement and we will work hard for the next four to five weeks to ensure everything is in place in the knock-out stages.”
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Fourie said they are determined to be more ‘attack-minded’, but added that at times they still did not “execute adequately” inside the opposition’s 22-metre area – leaving some points on the table.
“Overall I am happy with the way we played,” the coach said, adding: “We had a big emphasis on our attack and we will continue to do so going forward.”
He said they will work on ‘converting’ 70 percent of their opportunities into points.
“We will work on having patience in the [opposition] 22-metre area and convert those opportunities,” Fourie said.
Rosko Specman returned with a vengeance as the Cheetahs ran the Sharks ragged in Bloemfontein on at the weekend, to maintain their unbeaten run this year.
Ruan Pienaar and company clicked from the outset, scoring six tries, while they also dominated at scrum time.