Cheetahs 'motivated by Naka's exit'
Ockert de Villiers - Sport24
Johannesburg - Lions prop Julian Redelinghuys believes Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske’s impending departure from the side will spur the Free State franchise on in their Super Rugby clash in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Earlier this week Drotske was granted an early release from his contract after he recently announced that he would be stepping down after this year's Super Rugby competition with Franco Smith named as his successor.
Drotske will be released from his contract after the Cheetahs’ Super Rugby clash against the Stormers at Newlands on May 30.
"Local derbies are tough and it will be tough and with the instability around Naka I think it will motivate them,” Redelinghuys said.
“So we are expecting a big clash from them and maybe they’ll want to win for Naka because it is one of his last games in charge.”
The depleted Cheetahs will need some extra motivation following their 45-25 hammering at the hands of the Highlanders in the City of Roses last weekend.
The Lions that are fresh off a defeat to the Brumbies will be travelling to their away hunting ground with the Johannesburg side boasting three from six matches in Bloemfontein.
Redelinghuys said the Lions’ ball retention had been poor against the Brumbies which they aimed to correct against the Cheetahs.
“We said we want to keep the ball and we want to minimise the small stupid mistakes while building on phases,” Redelinghuys said.
“It cost us last week where I think there was for example only one lineout where we set up three phases which is something we’ve worked on this week.”
The last time these two sides met the match in Johannesburg unravelled into a spectacle with the sides scoring four tries apiece.
The Lions will be looking to change their status as perennial chasers as they are yet to string together an 80-minute performance.
They have been playing catch-up rugby for the larger part of the season and last weekend the Brumbies averted the Lions’ famous comeback.
Lions captain Warren Whiteley said it was not so much the slow start his side made to matches but instead how they reacted when conceding points.
“We lose focus for 10 minutes then a side scores one or two tries against us and it feels like we are chasing the game,” he said.
“We need to keep that focus for 80 minutes, we hope it comes right over the weekend but it won’t be easy going to Bloemfontein.”