Vodacom Super Rugby
Drotské: No excuse for loss
Bloemfontein – Cheetahs defence coach Michael Horak can do what he wants, but the team won’t get anywhere if the players aren’t prepared to tackle their opponents.
That was the view of Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské after his team was robbed of a victory and condemned to defeat in the dying stages of Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes.
The visitors clinched victory with the 11th try of the game seconds before the end to win 50-47.
Drotské said that there was no excuse for the loss. His team have suffered a host of narrow defeats in this year’s tournament. He believes his team’s tackling was not good enough and some tough questions need to be asked of the coaching staff and especially the players.
The Cheetahs’ defence was so poor at times that it appeared as if they either did not want to win or were involved in match-fixing.
The poor defence detracted from a good attacking performance by Cheetahs scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, who scored a hat-trick of tries.
“There is no doubt that we made the Hurricanes look good. We were good on attack, but let them back in with soft tries every time we scored,” said Drotské.
“I can think of three or four tries where one-on-one defence cost us. I can also think of two tries where Hurricanes wing Hosea Gear bumped off two or three players. That is unacceptable.
“Michael Horak could have any system in place, but if a player does not execute his man-on-man defence and tackles his opponent, it won’t help.”
The Cheetahs were unlucky in some other matches, but Drotské believes this defeat was only down to poor defence.
“We have now lost six games with less than seven points and have to take it on the chin. The reason for that is not just bad luck.”
The coach believes the players have to accept responsibility.
“How do you defend one-on-one defence at this level. You can’t teach a player to tackle from scratch,” said Drotské.
“We have to go and find the reasons that it happened. Is it perhaps because out team changes every week because of injuries or simply a case of us not being good enough at this level?”
Hurricanes captain Andrew Hore believes both teams defended poorly.
“It was one of those games where you would be very happy to be an attack coach. A defence coach will probably be pulling his hair out in frustration,” said Hore.