PRO14

Cheetahs coach: PRO14 on similar level to Super Rugby

2018-05-02 14:23
Rory Duncan (Getty)

Cape Town - Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan believes that the PRO14 and Super Rugby are similar in terms of quality levels.

The Cheetahs are currently in Wales preparing for their historic PRO14 quarter-final against the defending champion Scarlets on Saturday. 

It is a massive game for the men from Bloemfontein, who will play in a playoff fixture of an international tournament for only second time in their history following 2013's journey to the Super Rugby qualifiers. 

They lost 15-13 to the Brumbies in Canberra that year, but that seems like an age ago. 

In the years that followed, the Cheetahs struggled in Super Rugby and they were eventually axed from the tournament at the end of the 2017 season along with Port Elizabeth's Kings. 

While that appeared a tough blow to the Bloemfontein-based franchise, it made a move up north possible and the Cheetahs have been largely impressive in their maiden PRO14 season. 

The travel demands and the extreme changes in weather conditions between South African and Europe have made for a unique challenge. 

While the move has ultimately been a good one for the Cheetahs, there is the concern that the franchise's players are slipping off the Springbok radar. 

Despite its own struggles in terms of crowd attendance and spectator interest, Super Rugby is largely considered the benchmark in terms of the quality of modern-day rugby tournaments thanks almost entirely to the particpation of the New Zealand teams. 

Duncan, though, doesn't buy into that philosophy and he feels the PRO14 is right up there with Super Rugby in terms of quality. 

"Both competitions are extremely competitive," Duncan said.

"There are no easy games in Super Rugby and I believe that there are no easy games in PRO14 rugby. Every team that you come up against is going to give you a good run.

"In terms of the quality of the competition, I don't think there is a hang of a difference between the two. 

"We've found PRO14 rugby to be quite physical and direct and we've realised that, in this competition, game management is an important aspect ... especially when playing abroad."

Duncan added that his side had adapted as well as they could have to the demands of northern hemisphere rugby and that they were in good shape for the weekend. 

"We're treating this like any other game," he said. 

Kick-off on Saturday is at 19:35 (SA time). 

Read more on:    cheetahs  |  pro14  |  rory duncan  |  bloemfontein  |  rugby
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