Cheetahs filled with belief
Bloemfontein - Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss says belief in their own abilities ensured their passage to the playoffs of this year's Super Rugby competition.
"Our mindset is definitely the difference between this year and last year," Strauss said after their 34-13 victory over the Blues in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
"This year we really have the belief that we can make it."
The Cheetahs achieved what many critics believed impossible by cementing their place among the top six Super Rugby sides following their victory over the Blues.
The Bloemfontein-based side have a bye next week with the guaranteed four bonus points confirming their participation in the knock-out games.
"We've had some good results and some youngsters also put up their hands," Strauss said.
"We've got a bit of a rest now but we'll still be training for the play offs. That's for sure."
Their performance against the Blues was in stark contrast to their 28-3 loss against the Stormers a week ago.
Strauss lauded his team for rising from the ashes to claim their spot in the playoffs two weeks from now.
"I'm very proud of the guys and I think we left a couple of tries out there on the field, but in all it was a good performance," he said.
"This week we stuck to the structures a bit more and every guy just focussed on his own job. And it worked on the day."
On the back of mediocre performances in past competitions, the Cheetahs were the surprise package of this year's competition.
With the Stormers and Sharks out of contention, it is now up to the Cheetahs and the Bulls to claim the title for South Africa.
Blues lock and captain Ali Williams commended the Cheetahs for their efforts throughout the season.
"These boys play like they are possessed and they really do deserve a place in the playoffs," Williams said.
"They've come out and played the game of rugby like we all want to watch. To be honest, today they simply outclassed us.
"We made too many errors and when we get our hands on the ball we can threaten any side, but we couldn't do that tonight."
Williams said they would make their remaining match in the competition count to reward their fans for their loyal support.
"We've got one more game next week and we can show our fans back home that we can still win," he said.
"Unfortunately we've fallen short on some occasions this year and we feel like we under done ourselves."