Cheetahs upbeat ahead of tour

    2012-03-04 18:54

    Bloemfontein - After their hammering of 51-19 at the hands of the Bulls in a Super Rugby match on Saturday, the Cheetahs boarded their plane for Australasia knowing that they have to make some sort of mind shift.

    The side risks finishing at the bottom of the log and even being chucked out of the competition to make way for the Southern Kings.

    The Bloemfontein-based side were completely dominated by the Bulls forward pack.

    Poor defence and decision making combined with an impressive defensive performance by the Bulls saw the hosts struggling from the word go.

    The Bulls scored no less than six tries, a harsh reminder that the Cheetahs defence wasn't up to scratch.

    "We played a good kicking game, but we were nowhere near good enough on defence. We also allowed the Bulls to get far too many turnovers," Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské said.

    Bulls coach Frans Ludeke praised his charges for their good defence against the Cheetahs.

    The Bulls will play the Blues next at Loftus Versfeld and will be looking to build on the momentum gained from their wins over the Sharks and Cheetahs.

    "We are willing to work hard for each other and that makes all the difference. We approach every game differently and take it week by week" Bulls stand-in captain Chiliboy Ralepele said.

    "The competition doesn't get any easier with us playing the Blues next week. But we are just going to regroup and look ahead to the game at Loftus."

    Cheetahs hooker and captain Adriaan Strauss scored his team's only try after Bulls scrumhalf Francois Hougaard was red carded for a dangerous tackle on Robert Ebersohn.

    Hougaard received a one-week ban from SANZAR's duty judicial officer Mike Heron on Sunday.

    Strauss said the team were disappointed with their performance and conceded that the Bulls were tactically better than they were.

    "They came at us with numerous attacks and we had to defend a great deal, and that tired us out," said Strauss.

    "When we got into their half we just could not hold on to the ball, while their defence were also very good."

    The Cheetahs will face the Brumbies in their first match of the Australasian tour followed by the Melbourne Rebels.

    Strauss said they were looking forward to the tour and would ratify the mistakes they made against the Bulls.

    "Overall we could have done better, and we didn't," said Strauss.

    "We now face a tough tour, but the guys are positive about that, especially after we did so well on tour last season.

    "We know we can win on tour, so we're looking forward to playing abroad."

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