Naka lauds on song Cheetahs
Bloemfontein - Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské has lauded his team for carrying their fine form on tour to their first match back at home.
The Bloemfontein side beat the Rebels 34-16 at the Free State Stadium on Saturday for their fourth straight Super Rugby victory, climbing to sixth place in the overall standings and second in the SA conference.
"We are definitely happy with the four victories in a row," Drotské said.
VIDEO: Cheetahs v Rebels, highlights
"It was a good tour abroad, but I was worried we couldn't put it behind us.
"The Rebels gave away 60 points against the Sharks last week, and when that happens to a team they always come back with a bang.
"It was tough out there and we maybe could have scored one or two more tries, but I won't be greedy."
Dominating possession, the home team pounced on every mistake made by the visitors, including winger Willie le Roux's try after a mishap in the Rebels' backline.
"The conditions weren't ideal for playing running rugby so we were a little bit out of our comfort zone," Drotské said.
"But in the end, all credit to the players who stuck to the game plan and came out on top.
"I feel that the bonus point for four or more tries is exactly that - a bonus.
"The guys had jet lag and we needed to start fresh after our success overseas, so I would have been happy with just the victory."
Flyhalf Riaan Smit tore a hamstring while kicking in the warm-up prior to the game and could be out of action for at least two weeks, depending on the grade of the tear, adding to the Cheetahs' flyhalf woes after Springbok flyhalf Johan Goosen's prolonged knee injury.
"There was a lot of blood around the torn muscle so we will only have clarity on Monday," Drotské said.
"Hopefully it is just a grade one tear, meaning that Riaan will be out for two to three weeks. We will just have to wait and see."
While he was pleased his team improved from their record defeat to the Sharks the previous week, Rebels coach Damien Hill was disappointed with their tour.
"Our confidence is at a low going into the game against the Force (in the next round) and we need to make the step up," Hill said.
"Our senior players need to take leadership and help guide our youngsters. We have got to find a way to win."
The Cheetahs host the Stormers at the Free State Stadium next weekend.