Cheetahs need to toughen up
Bloemfontein - The Cheetahs will have to be more physical if they are to beat the Western Force in their Super Rugby encounter in the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske said the Force, who have lost only three games this season, pose a huge threat on attack and the hosts needed to be the more physical of the two sides in seeking only their third win in this year's competition.
"The Western Force have got an unbelievable defensive system in place and their one-on-one tackles are very good. The last couple of years, teams have found it increasingly difficult to beat them," Drotske said.
"They are very physical, especially at the break downs, and it is difficult to score tries against them. We will have to be more physical side on the day if we are to beat them."
The Cheetahs need another good performance at home, where they have beaten the Bulls and Stormers this season.
With only two victories to their credit, Drotske admitted it had become increasingly difficult to gain momentum after a poor start to the competition.
"If we look back on the season so far, we are definitely frustrated with where we are. The first five of six weeks we let ourselves down, with the exception of the Bulls game in Bloemfontein.
"Since we've come back from overseas, it has gotten much better, but we let it slip against the Chiefs after leading 34-10.
"We did well against the Sharks if you take into account that the game was in Durban and, against the Crusaders, we were in the game for 76 of the 80 minutes. But we put a lot of pressure on ourselves with the first few weeks' results, and we want to rectify that. Hopefully we can start with a victory over the Force."
The Cheetahs were penalised heavily for infringing at the scrums against the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend, but captain and hooker Adriaan Strauss said his side would still be putting pressure on the Force at scrum time.
"You must weigh up the odds and decide if it is worth giving away penalties. We struggled against the Bulls, but in another game it could have gone the other way," Strauss said.
"We could have dominated and the referee could have seen it that way. It did not go as planned against the Bulls, but that doesn't mean that we will stop working on our scrums. Against the Force we will test the officials and the situation on the day. If it isn't worth it, we will take the foot of the gas in that regard.
"Against the Force we not only need to dominate the scrums, we need to be up their tactically as well. They play a good kicking game. They work hard and play well and we will need to be up their on defence as well. We need to put in some solid hits."