Drotske slams lack of motivation
Johannesburg - Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has slammed his players for an apparent lack of motivation during their 40-17 Vodacom Super Rugby loss to the Emirates Lions on Saturday.
According to supersport.com, Drotske said any suggestion the last few games of the Super Rugby competition meant less motivation for the Cheetahs players as there was little to achieve was nonsense, and that his players needed to realise what they were playing for.
“We discussed that earlier this week – it’s their job. They’re playing for a new coach, they’re playing for a new contract next year. A lot of them chose to play rugby and not to study or do any other business opportunities so they’ve got to provide for their wives and children one day,” Drotske said.
“To me it’s unacceptable for a player to say they’re not motivated anymore. They are here and they need to play for their future.”
The Cheetahs coach will have his last game in charge after nine years against the DHL Stormers at Newlands on Saturday, before incoming coach Franco Smith takes over for the last two games of the season, but knows all too well it would be great to leave on a high note.
However, with the injuries the team has, as well as their opposition’s need to win to continue their quest to win the South African conference, it will be an uphill battle for the Cheetahs.
Drotske says the fact he will leave before the end of the season may not be ideal, but it isn’t the reason the Cheetahs have slumped to their 12th spot on the overall conference table.
“It’s not ideal to know before the end of the season that the coach is leaving but that happens everywhere. We’re not the first franchise – I think we were fortunate for nine years to avoid that situation, so it has to come somewhere somehow,” he explained.
“The best way is to be honest with the players. This is the opportunity and I am leaving, but I’m not sure that this is why we performed badly in the last two weeks.”
Drotske added that the season can be its own worst enemy and momentum has a lot to do with the way teams play.
“I said to Francois (Uys) that if you compare us and the Lions, once you start winning and you have a great season like we did two years ago, the confidence is up and if it is up, then 50-50 passes seem to stick, 50-50 calls seem to go your way and that is where the Lions are at the moment. Good luck to them, I really hope they make the playoffs.
“I’ve been here a long time - nine years is long for a coach at one franchise, so it is definitely emotional and I will miss it, but I’ll be the biggest Cheetahs supporter there is. I’m not leaving Bloemfontein so I will be here every Saturday supporting the team.”
Drotske also gave “bad discipline” from his side the blame for their scoreline at the end of the first half, where they trailed 23-3 and said they were forced to play catch-up from then onwards, leaving the team with a mountain to climb that they were unable to summit.
“Its spot on, also bad discipline – we gave away a lot of penalties against us. We struggled in the scrum, seven penalties to one put a lot of pressure on us in that first half. Every time we conceded a penalty it was either 3 points or we were back in our own half. In the first half our attack was very poor, the penalties put a lot of pressure on us and trailing 23-3 at halftime at this level you will never catch up.”
Still the Cheetahs at least know they had the Stormers number in their last outing in Bloemfontein, and that victory should give them enough hope that they perhaps, if they play correctly, and have the motivation, can cause an upset at Newlands.