Cheetahs defence on the up

2012-02-15 07:38

Cape Town - Cheetahs defence coach Michael Horak believes their defence is on the right track and it could become the cornerstone of their play this season.

The Cheetahs' sound defence was about the only positive they could take from their 39-16 loss to the Bulls over the weekend.

And Horak told the Volksblad newspaper that they want to make a statement with their defensive system in this year's Super Rugby tournament.

Horak believes the players' communication on defence is much better than last season and admits, without revealing too much, that they made a few changes in the off season.

Team management made it clear earlier that their defence has to improve if they are to achieve success in the Super Rugby tournament.

The Cheetahs were one of the best attacking teams in last year's competition, scoring 435 points. Only finalists, the Crusaders, with 436 were able to score more.

However, coach Naka Drotské's men conceded more points (437) than they scored which in the end proved costly. Only the Melbourne Rebels (570) and the Lions (477) conceded more, while the Brumbies also conceded 437 points.

Horak believes all the hours on the training field are now starting to pay dividends.

"We've spent a lot of time on our defence and are on the right track. The guys know what they want from us and they're starting to execute.

"The first half against the Bulls was good and the guys really worked well off the ball - their work ethic was high," said Horak.

The Cheetahs kick off their Super Rugby campaign against the Lions in Johannesburg on February 25.