Vodacom Super Rugby
Cheetah flyers impress ex-Bok
Gysie Pienaar (Gallo Images)
Bloemfontein - The Cheetahs' improved backline play, which is described by Gysie Pienaar as the best in years, is down to three factors: Consistency with selection, newly-found confidence, and the intelligent and effective manner in which turnover possession is utilised.
"The most important factor is the consistency in team selection. Riaan Viljoen said it (to Sport24) the other day and on the field it's clear that they are playing with greater confidence," said Pienaar, a former Springbok and also a previous assistant coach for the Boks and Free State.
Whereas there was still a measure of uncertainty among the Cheetahs' coaches at the beginning of the Super Rugby tournament about who their top player in each position was, the team is now only changed in the event of injury.
The communication between the coaching team and players is clearly good.
According to Viljoen, the confidence of coaches Naka Drotské and Hawies Fourie in his ability gives him the necessary confidence to perform at a high level.
"With the team doing so well, it's difficult to single out individuals. All the Cheetahs backline players are doing the basic things well - even as far as their cover defence is concerned," said Pienaar.
Apart from team selections and improved confidence, the manner in which the Cheetahs' backline players utilise turnover possession is also a big positive.
"They flourish on turnover possession and are then really dangerous. The possession they get from their forwards is equally good and gets them on the front foot."
Two players who have done particularly well this season in securing turnovers are prop Coenie Oosthuizen and centre Robert Ebersohn.