Cheetahs captain Juan Smith believes his team has to produce full 80 minutes of rugby in every game during this year’s Super 14, in order to improve on last year’s showing.
Ebrahim Moerat reports for Rugby 365 that the Cheetahs are the weakest of the five South African Super 14 franchises in terms of player depth, with their inability to buy big name players one of their major obstacles in competing with bigger franchises.
With the desert fixture against the Sharks cancelled, the Cheetahs will play a Super 14 warm-up game against a Griquas XV next Friday and a week later they will take on the Bulls in final preparation for the tournament.
While Griquas won’t do much to prepare them for the intensity of the Super 14, Smith stressed the importance of using these two fixtures to work on specific aspects of their game.
“Last year we finished with a quite a few bonus points for losing within seven points or less,” Smith told rugby365.com on Wednesday.
“We want to work hard on playing for the full 80 minutes this year. Therefore we need to start doing so in the friendlies already.
“We also want to get used to the law variations and try and understand the refs’ interpretation as much as possible.
The Cheetahs captain is also quite happy that his team did not have to travel to the Middle-East to play an exhibition match against the Sharks in Abu Dhabi.
“The fact that we do not have to travel for the friendly to the Middle East is actually good for us,” Smith said
“We’ve got a longer tour this year so it would have meant we’d have been doing some traveling before the competition already.”
Over the past two seasons Smith has established himself as one of the best loose forwards in the business which resulted in many overseas clubs wanting to lure him abroad.
However, the Cheetahs talisman has since signed a new two-year deal with the Central union highlighting the nature and work ethic of Bloemfontein players as some of the main reasons for staying with the franchise.
“This is really a positive bunch of guys, they are always positive wether we win or lose,” he said.
“Nobody has image problems and it’s great to work with them. That’s part of the reason why I signed for another two years.
“For the first time in a long while, I am really looking forward to the season ahead.”Tweet