Cheetahs eye 'transfer market' as Europe looms
REACTION: The Cheetahs will struggle to put their semifinal loss behind them, but they have to change gears very soon.
With their entry into the Challenge Cup in Europe less than six months away, lamenting too much about their premature exit from the Currie Cup would be counter-productive.
Already the Cheetahs are eyeing the ‘transfer market’, with the first round in Europe scheduled for the weekend of December 9/10/11.
A new Currie Cup champion will be crowned in Kimberley on Saturday – when two surprise packages, Griquas and the Pumas, contest the Final of South Africa’s premier domestic competition.
Griquas stun the defending-champion Bulls in Pretoria at the weekend, while the Pumas staged a brilliant late rally to shock the Cheetahs in their pulsating match in Bloemfontein.
Two tries at the death saw the Pumas stun the Cheetahs 38-35 in their semifinal in Bloemfontein to set up the unlikeliest of deciders against Griquas.
The Cheetahs’ coach, Fourie, said he was at a loss for words on why his team let the semifinal slip, after leading by 15 points at one stage.
He added that it will ‘take time’ to get over their semifinal loss at the weekend.
The Cheetahs now have a ‘break’, ahead of the Bloemfontein-based Challenge Series – which will serve as preparation ahead of their entry into the Challenge Cup in Europe later this year.
“Those will be big challenges for us, with all our game [in Europe away from home,” Fourie said.
“At least there are some doors opening for the team again.
“We’ve been out in the cold for two/three years now.
“Playing in Europe will take the Cheetahs and the union to another level.
“We are grateful for that opportunity.
“We will have to regroup, show character and work hard again to prepare for the next two competitions.”
The Cheetahs’ coach said getting enough dept to compete in the Challenge Cup will be a huge challenge.
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“Some of the top teams in the world play in the Challenge Cup,” Fourie said, adding: “They have plenty of money and big names.”
He admitted they have to get into the transfer market.
“We require, in some positions, players.
“We are looking around to contract players in those positions, but we won’t rush into it.”
With the European Cup just four league matches before four rounds of knock-out action, the demand on player resources depends on how far a team progresses.
“I doubt it [Challenge Cup] will clash with the Currie Cup.
“We don’t have any confirmed dates or schedules for next year’s Currie Cup, we will take it as it happens.
“There have been suggestions it might start in November or perhaps only March.
“Hopefully we will have finality soon, so we can plan properly.”