Cheetahs have a 'mental block'
Christchurch - Vodacom Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske believes his side has a massive “mental block” and won’t progress in Super rugby unless they manage to rid themselves of it.
Drotske reshuffled his Cheetahs backline and made five changes in total to the side that conceded more than 60 points against the Brumbies for this weekend’s massive task to take on the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Of the most significant is the dropping of midfielder Meyer Bosman for Barry Geel, who will make his debut for the Cheetahs this weekend while Sarel Pretorius and Riaan Viljoen will be the halfback pairing after they excelled when they came on against the Brumbies and replace Tewis de Bruyn and Naas Olivier respectively.
On the wing Danwell Demas is back in his position, replacing Wilmaure Louw while Davon Raubenheimer has been handed the number eight jersey to replace Kabamba Floors, who was suspended for five weeks for a spear tackle.
Drotske hasn’t given up hope yet, even though many of his supporters have, and believes his team can still turn things around – as long as they shake off their mental block of playing overseas and in their defensive system.
“It’s difficult to say where the problems are in defence,” Drotske told Supersport.com.
“We used the same system that won us games against the Hurricanes and Sharks but it didn’t work. I believe it is a mental thing that we have, that we can’t seem to win overseas and while everything goes well in the lead-up to the game, somehow the players fold under the pressure and forget the systems they should be following.
“It was the same with the Bulls a few years ago, they went overseas and never won there, until the time they managed to turn it around and win one game. Since then they have never looked back. That’s the challenge to our players. We need to be able to get over that hurdle and win just one game, and we will be okay. We will rid ourselves of the mental block.”
Drotske believes the bunch of injuries that have hampered the side, along with captain Juan Smith’s absence because of the death of his father, are simply “realities of the game” that the team will need to cope with.
“That’s the reality of it. You get injuries at this level and we have learnt our lesson because of it. The Brumbies were very good last week and we may be a few players short but now is the time for the young players to make a stand.
“The most important thing to remember is that we started this week with the same chance of winning as any week and we need to focus on doing the basics right. I know it is a big task to try and beat the Crusaders in Christchurch but the toughest challenges are usually the best to get right.”
15. Hennie Daniller, 14. Danwel Demas 13. Corné Uys, 12. Barry Geel, 11. Jongi Nokwe, 10. Riaan Viljoen, 9. Sarel Pretorius, 8. Davon Raubenheimer, 7. Barend Pieterse, 6. Hendro Scholtz, 5. Walti Vermeulen, 4. Izak van der Westhuizen, 3. WP Nel, 2. Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1. Coenie Oosthuizen
Substitutes: 16. Ryno Barnes, 17. Wian du Preez, 18. Nico Breedt, 19. Philip van der Walt, 20. Tewis de Bruyn, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Robert Ebersohn