Cheetahs target Pro14 title after Currie Cup triumph
CURRIE CUP REACTION: Outgoing Free State Cheetahs coach Franco Smith says his team’s Currie Cup triumph was an important stepping stone to greater things.
The Cheetahs survived a strong second-half fightback from the Golden Lions in the Final for a 31-28 victory and their first Currie Cup title since 2016 in Bloemfontein on Saturday
“We came from a promotion-relegation game last year and we worked all the way back and this was an important brick in the wall that we are building,” said Smith
“Last year when we started over after a lot of guys left, we set ourselves objectives and we said it is going to take time.
“A lot of people outside of the team environment were impatient and this is an important stepping stone for us. Winning the Currie Cup will always be one of the special things that can happen to a player and a coach.”
Celebrating all the way! 🎉
Thanks to all the fans who filled Toyota Stadium! #CurrieCup2019
— Toyota Cheetahs (@CheetahsRugby) September 8, 2019
Smith added: “This is the flagship tournament in South African rugby, and I hope it stays that way. It is a real privilege to finish as the champions.
“There is currently a dream at the union to win the Currie Cup and Pro14 in one season. The players worked very hard for this and all credit to them.”
Cheetahs captain Tian Meyer said it has been a tough year since last year’s promotion-relegation match against the SWD Eagles. In 2018, the Cheetahs finished bottom of the Currie Cup standings after losing all their matches.
“In the end it is our livelihood. It is something we love to do, so we are fortunate and grateful that we can do what we do as a job. There are always those outside pressures,” said Meyer.
“A year ago, it was difficult – at the end of the day the company was under pressure and everybody pulled together to make it work.
“There is love for one another. It doesn’t matter what job you have at the Cheetahs; people care for you and it’s not just the team that won this, it’s the whole company that won the Currie Cup.
“I am just truly grateful and happy for everybody here that we could pull it through.”