Cheetahs out to rewrite history
Bloemfontein - The Cheetahs will rewrite the history books if they manage to beat the Blues in their Super Rugby encounter at Free State Stadium on Saturday.
Should they win, the hosts will secure their place in the knockout stages of the prestigious competition for the first time since becoming a franchise in 2006.
With a bye next week and the resulting four points already secured, the Cheetahs will cement their place among the top six sides if they can beat the Blues, who last won in Bloemfontein in 2010
After their previous bye, the hosts came back and lost valuable momentum after a defeat to the Hurricanes, only to redeem themselves a week later against the Reds.
The same scenario now presents itself, with their break in play during the international window resulting in a hammering against the Stormers in Cape Town last week.
"It has been a problem of ours in the past," said Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske.
"We had the bye and then returned only to play with a lack of intensity.
"This is a trend that we saw last season as well. We've put last week's loss against the Stormers behind us and hopefully we can come back from that.
"One positive is that we have always hit back after losing that first game following the bye.
"We have to do that again this weekend. A victory is not negotiable."
If the Cheetahs were able to progress to the playoffs, Drotske said they would not make the same mistake by leaving things late with regards to preparation.
While they would enjoy the bye next week, Drotske was adamant his side would not be caught by the dreaded bye curse again.
"We've made some preparations. If we do progress to the knockout round, we will be back on Thursday practising, even though we have the week off.
"But for now we focus solely on the Blues game. We don't want to lose and be dependent on other teams' results to see if we make it or not."