Cheetahs head coach Hawies Fourie has insisted that his side are still in the 2020 Currie Cup chase despite falling eight points off the semi-final pace with a loss to the Lions in Bloemfontein on Saturday 12 December.
Fourie feels that if the Cheetahs can win their remaining four matches they will be in contention for a semi-final berth.
Falling off the pace
The Cheetahs lost their second match on the bounce in the Currie Cup when they went down 23-39 to the Lions.
They may need to have a few favours done for them, but the Cheetahs are at least mathematically still in the race for a top four place.
“We have four games left of which two are tough home games against Western Province and the Sharks, so we will probably have to win all four,” said Fourie.
“The Sharks, in second place, are probably out of sight, but we believe we can still push for that third or fourth place.”
Fourie believes his team can be competitive but has endured the frustration of seeing them let things slip at the start of the second half in both their Currie Cup matches to date.
“It was more or less the same as what happened the previous week against the Bulls,” he said. “At Loftus it was 13-13 at the break and against the Lions 13-9 and, although we didn’t play well, we were just four points behind,” he said.
Fourie acknowledged that the Cheetahs give away too many penalties, a longstanding issue with the Free Staters.
“It’s been a concern since ProRugby. When you give away penalties you not only concede points, you also give up territory. There wasn’t a lot I was satisfied with about the game,” said Fourie.
Another blow for the Cheetahs
Coronavirus forced the Cheetahs to withdraw from the Pro14 and they found out that their 2019/20 efforts in the tournament would be their last as SA Rugby announced the four Super Rugby franchises would enter the competition beyond 2021.
The Cheetahs lost momentum during Super Rugby Unlocked when their match against the Lions was called off, and as a result they started the Currie Cup off the pace of the big four teams.
The Bloemfontein-based outfit have also seen several top players depart for greener pastures this term including a gaggle who have left in the middle of the Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup campaigns.