Cheetahs counting the cost
INJURY UPDATE: The Free State Cheetahs lost a lot more than just their unbeaten run when the Golden Lions came from behind to beat them 24-22 in Bloemfontein at the weekend.
From sitting pretty at the top of the Currie Cup standings, the Cheetahs dropped to third.
However, the biggest concern for coach Franco Smith is not the lost points.
Two of their key players suffered serious injuries.
Flyhalf Tian Schoeman (calf) left the field just on the half-hour mark and flank Marnus van der Merwe (ankle) departed just on the hour mark.
Smith suggested both players could be sidelined for four to six weeks, perhaps even longer
He added that the loss, after racing into the 19-0 lead in the first half-hour, is not a train smash.
“It is better that it happened now, than perhaps in the play-offs,” he said of the heartbreaking loss.
“We have to work on dealing with these tight games.
“There are massive expectations for the Cheetahs.”
The coach suggested “soft moments” and a high penalty count resulted in their unbeaten run coming to an end.
He suggested that the Lions used their opportunities better than the Cheetahs did.
“They [the Lions] beat Western Province at home and have come from behind in all three their games.
“That is why it is better that we lost now, rather than in a semifinal or Final.”