Cheetahs 'under pressure'
Bloemfontein - The Cheetahs need to pull up their socks, admits head coach Naka Drotske, if they are to reach the Super Rugby playoffs.
The Bloemfontein side, coming off a bye and a loss to the Hurricanes, were lying seventh overall in the standings ahead of their clash against the high-flying Reds at Free State Stadium on Saturday.
"We are under pressure to win games, especially in light of our goal to reach the knockout stages," Drotske said.
"We have discussed that we want to be more intense on attack as well as defensively.
"Sometimes you come back from a bye and the intensity is right up there and sometimes it isn't. I am positive, though, that our training sessions this week were much better than the week before.
"The guys know that they let themselves down against the Hurricanes and that we need a win."
The Reds' Wallaby duo of scrumhalf Will Genia and flyhalf Quade Cooper were identified by the Cheetahs as the two game-breakers that the hosts needed to neutralise in order to secure a crucial victory.
"Last week the Hurricanes outside backs were the big threat," said Cheetahs backline coach Hawies Fourie.
"This week it comes from the half-back paring of Will Genia and Quade Cooper. We need to put them under pressure.
"Cooper's game has improved quite a lot during the season. He started of slowly since his knee injury at the World Cup but is playing a good game and is a huge threat.
"The Reds will have a lot of confidence. They are doing well in the competition."
With the experience of Genia behind the rucks, there was a call to promote veteran scrum-half Sarel Pretorius to the Cheetahs' starting line-up, but Drotske said there was good reason to play him off the bench.
“We believe that there are certain aspects of the game where Piet van Zyl is the better player," he said.
"When Sarel was injured and we picked Piet for the game against the Kings he really did have a good game. Both of our tries were a direct result of his play making skills.
"We also believe if a player gets a gap the returning player must play his way back into the team.
"We just think that Sarel hasn't done enough yet to be in the starting line-up for the Reds.
"Nine is a position where we have the luxury of two quality scrumhalves, so Sarel will get his game time, but in the second half were it might suit him better if their defence is starting to tire."