Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus has revealed that the Cheetahs still suffer from the same problems that caused him to swap Bloemfontein for Cape Town.
Erasmus feels that the squad depth at the Free State franchise was simply not deep enough while he was at the helm, and that was the main reason that made him consider offers to coach with other Super 14 franchises.
Rugby 365 reports that Erasmus told OFM Sport, “It is a difficult year for the Cheetahs,”.
“The same reasons that made me leave the Cheetahs, continue to be the problem. The Cheetahs don’t have enough depth. And they also don’t have the money to buy that depth,” said the Stormers coach.
Erasmus went on to explain that during his spell as coach, the Cheetahs performed reasonably well in the Super 14, but as soon as injuries became a telling factor around the halfway mark of the competition, it spelled the end for the Cheetahs.
Coach Naka Drotské has had similar fortunes this season with the Bloemfontein-based franchise.
Both Erasmus and Drotské won the Currie Cup in their first seasons at the helm of the Cheetahs. But Drotské is now struggling in the Super 14 season that follows that Currie Cup victory, just as Erasmus did before him.
It is certainly not because they are poor coaches. In fact, Erasmus has proved at the Stormers this season that with enough depth and the financial backing to buy the right players, he is one of the best technical coaches in world rugby.
Drotské in turn can count excellent man-management skills amongst his strong points.
Both Erasmus and Drotské are not ones to look for excuses when things don’t go to plan. But when someone like Erasmus gives a neutral perspective from outside the Cheetahs sphere, that one realises the daunting task that Drotské faced, considering the lengthy injury list at the Cheetahs.
Drotské had to make do without the following players for one or more matches: Bevin Fortuin (Springbok fullback), Gavin Passens (Bok wing), Jacques-Louis Potgieter (flyhalf), Juan Smith (Bok flank and captain), Kabamba Floors (Bok flank), Barend Pieterse (Bok lock), Kobus Calldo (prop) and CJ van der Linde (Bok prop).
Despite this critical injury list, Drotské did not complain about his fate. He has also had to cope this season after watching a massive number of experienced, quality players depart the Free State for greener pastures.
The coach has also had to rebuild his team after the following players became unavailable for the Cheetahs’ Super 14 campaign since last year: Zane Kirchner (Griquas fullback, Bulls), Tiger Mangweni (Griquas fullback, Blue Bulls), Philip Burger (Free State wing, Perpignan), Ronnie Cooke (Griquas centre, Brive), Marius Joubert (Free State centre, Clermont), Willem de Waal (Free State flyhalf, Narbonne), Michael Claassens (Free State scrumhalf, Bath), Bian Vermaak (Free State forward, overseas), Gareth Krause (Griquas loose forward, overseas), Ryno van der Merwe (Free State eighthman, Brive), Corniel van Zyl (Free State lock, Treviso), Jannie du Plessis (Free State prop, Sharks), Ollie le Roux (Free State prop, Leinster) en Os du Randt (Free State prop, retired).Tweet