FS will tackle for 85 minutes
Cape Town - Free State Cheetahs defence coach, Michael Horak, says they are preparing for a professional, 85 minute defensive effort against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
Horak told the Volksblad newspaper their inability to play the full 80 minutes in games - and in particular their lapses on defence - has cost them a home semi-final in this year's Currie Cup.
Three games stand out: At home against the Blue Bulls and the Lions and away against Griquas. In all those games, the Free Staters were leading by 10 or more points going into the last 10 minutes. They drew with the Bulls and the Lions and lost the game against Griquas in Kimberley.
But Horak is confident they have addressed the issue properly to avoid a repeat scenario this weekend.
"We drilled into the players this week that we have to be professional enough to keep the opposition out for 85 minutes. It will take 85 minutes of hard work against the Sharks.
"Defence at the end (of matches) cost the Cheetahs in the Super Rugby competition and it floored us in one or two matches in the Currie Cup as well.
"Now we are going to Durban and we're focusing on giving everything for 85 minutes," said Horak.
Free State Cheetahs:
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Ryno Benjamin, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Cameron Jacobs, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Ashley Johnson, 6 Pieter Labuschagne, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Philip van der Walt, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Marcel van der Merwe
Substitutes: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Johan Wessels, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Nico Scheepers