Unlucky Cheetahs set sight on Round of 16
SPOTLIGHT: The Cheetahs concluded the Challenge Cup pool stage on a very sour note at the weekend.
However, Hawies Fourie’s men have ample time to recover as they shift their focus to the play-off phase.
The Bloemfontein-based team suffered a heartbreaking 27-28 defeat to Oyonnax in their final Challenge Cup pool match in France.
However, they secured two crucial bonus points to secure their passage into the Round of 16.
Fourie’s team travels to France to take on Clermont in the last 16 matches scheduled for the weekend of April 5/6/7.
“We will have a break, rest well and make sure we are well prepared for the Round of 16,” Fourie said in the wake of the defeat to Oyonnax.
The Cheetahs were well on their way to pick up the victory following their Round Three defeat to Pau in Amsterdam.
But a late try by Oyonnax in the 87th minute dashed all their hopes.
The Cheetahs also had to play with 14 men after wing Munier Hartzenberg received a red card for dangerous play in the opening quarter.
“You get games of inches and then you get games of inches, and [Saturday] was one of those,” Fourie said.
“We were really unlucky to lose this game. I felt that the players gave 100 percent effort and we played well.
“It was a pity that we got the red card against [Hartzenberg], to play with 14 and 13 guys in some patches was tough
“But we did well and I’m proud of the team. Happy that we are part of the Round of 16 again.
“We wanted to win the group, but in the 88th minute they scored.”
The coach admitted his side has a couple of work-ons.
“There are certain things we need to improve.
” But in a game like this, we can only be proud of the character the players have shown and the improvement since last week.”