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    Cheetahs enter vital phase

    2013-04-10 07:45
    Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss (Gallo Images)
    Cape Town - The Cheetahs will carefully manage their players over the next three weeks in order to avoid picking up injuries at a crucial stage of the Super Rugby competition.

    According to the Volksblad website, the men from Bloemfontein are the only team in the competition yet to have a bye week, and will only have their first off period in Round 12 (May 3).

    The Cheetahs are currently on a record run of five consecutive wins but face tough South African derbies over the next three weeks. After facing the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday, they travel to Durban to face the Sharks before hosting the Kings the following week.

    According to their fitness coach, Niel du Plessis, the players are currently - after seven straight matches and the three derbies looming - at their most vulnerable to pick up injuries. He has therefore altered their training regime over the next few weeks.

    "The focus for the three weeks before the bye is on the recovery process, rather than conditioning," said Du Plessis.

    Contact sessions during training will also be lessened, with the plan to up the intensity again after the bye week.

    Du Plessis said the next three weeks could be vital to their season, especially with the South African derbies being "much harder and physical" than games against overseas opposition.

    The fitness mentor is however happy with the current physical state of his players, but the challenge is to keep it that way.

    "This period before the Kings match is the toughest," he said.

    The players were also given the day off on Monday following a bruising 26-24 win over the Stormers last week.

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