Naka Drotské chats to Sport24

2014-04-11 10:02

Cape Town - The former Springbok hooker and current Cheetahs coach, Naka Drotske answers YOUR questions.

He addresses his side’s defence, Heinrich Brüssow’s return from injury and the clash against the Crusaders on Saturday...

Hennie le Roux asked: Why is consistency such a problem? Why can't the team play good rugby for the full 80 minutes?

Naka Drotské: At half-time on Saturday, I told the players to stick with the game plan and maintain that attacking mindset. However, we did not do that in the second stanza; we played a defensive game and panicked a little bit. That said, the Chiefs clearly took the decision at half time to send in extra personnel at the point of breakdown. They secured a few key turnovers in the second half, which ultimately cost us the match. Having lead 34-10, not matter the opposition, we should never have lost that game. Post-match, I stressed to the players that they key is to maintain ball possession and be more effective in playing for field position.

Hennie Olivier asked: Is a reason the side faded in the second half perhaps because of poor conditioning?

Naka Drotské: Definitely not. In fact, I’m convinced that we are one of the best conditioned sides in the entire competition. Every time we lose a game in the second half, people bring up the conditioning issue, but it’s simply not the case. It’s fair to say people quickly forget about that issue when we come from behind to win.

JP Max Barnard asked: What’s the latest on Heinrich Brüssow? When will he be back in first-team action?

Naka Drotské: The good news is that Heinrich has completed his recovery and rehabilitation process and will be playing for our Vodacom Cup side against Western Province in Cape Town on Saturday. As far as getting back into the mix at Super Rugby level is concerned, he has not played at all this year, therefore needs to prove that he’s fit again and can make the step up. Boom Prinsloo is playing really good rugby for us in the No 6 position, so competition for places in the team is always healthy.

Johan Matthysen asked: Do you think that Johan Goosen is slowly getting back to his best?

Naka Drotské: Yes, I feel he is improving every week. As he is a confidence player, in the past when he has suffered an injury, it took a little for him to come back and play his best rugby. However, both his goal kicking and tactical kicking has really improved, which is positive news for us as a team. One’s No 10 is always a pivotal player and as such it’s great to have Johan back and in fine form.

John van den Berg asked: What short and long-term goals have you set yourself and the side this season?

Naka Drotské: After the way we played against the Chiefs, I definitely believe we will win more games than we lose for the remainders of the season. Having reached the playoffs in 2013, I feel the pressure is now off us in that regard. While I remain positive that we can still catch the side in sixth place, that is not our sole focus. I believe that if we concentrate on playing well on a week-by-week basis, we can still prove successful in 2014.

Raymond O’Connor asked: The Cheetahs have conceded the most number of points in the competition thus far – 251 – how big of a loss was the defection of your defence coach, Michael Horak, to the Kings?

Naka Drotské: While it’s always tough losing a member of one’s coaching staff, Michael received a very good offer from the Kings and, financially speaking, we were simply not able to offer him the same package in terms of compensation. While we have conceded the most number of points this season, I maintain that our defence does not lack shape or structure. For example, in our opening tour match against the Rebels, we turned over the ball 25 times and all five of their tries were scored as a direct result of us coughing up ball possession. There is no defensive system in place in world rugby to counter turnovers. However, we subsequently discovered that poor tactical kicking and playing too laterally on attack put undue pressure on our defensive system. From this point forward, I believe that our defence will only improve – we are now more direct.

Bruce Geldenhuys asked: As a coach, I’m sure you see the game differently to how us fans do. How valuable is statistical analysis and player data?

Naka Drotské: There are certain statistics which are valuable to us as coaches and others that are simply for the spectators’ benefit. To give an example, I like to know the number of penalties my side concedes as discipline is crucial in the oval game. If you aren’t tactically disciplined, you will always be on the back foot and lose a lot of position. I also take much interest in the statistics regarding the set-pieces – scrums and lineouts.

Jodi Marais asked: You tackle the Crusaders this Saturday. Outline the threats they pose and your plans for the game…

Naka Drotské: The Crusaders are a physical side that thrives on momentum. It’s therefore very important that we stop their forward runners behind the advantage line. On our own ball, they will definitely attack our breakdown, so we need to remain sharp in that facet of play in order to generate quality ball. While the men from Christchurch will be tough to beat as always, we boast a good track record against them in Bloemfontein.


Michael Cheika

Francois Hougaard

Andre Watson

Chester Williams

Jono Ross

Johan Ackermann

Japie Mulder

Makhaya Ntini

Andre Joubert

James Dalton

Shaun Pollock

Jonathan Kaplan

James Small

Pat Symcox

Joe van Niekerk

Nick Mallett

Heyneke Meyer

Tiaan Strauss

John Mitchell

David Campese

Dean Furman


  • Conrad Enslin - 2014-04-11 12:07

    Naka Drotské: There are certain statistics which are valuable to us as coaches and others that are simply for the spectators’ benefit. Spectator: Well as a Spectator maybe Naka should look at the statistics of winning maybe that could benefit spectators. Maybe what could benefit the Cheetahs is a new Coach!

  • Theuns Jacobs - 2014-04-11 13:04

    Can I speak to naka pls...Naka: why dont you p*ss off with your grey tjommas and go screw up somewhere else. (I'm not saying someone else referring to a player girlfriend.). It is time for you to go, and please take harold verster with question to you is..WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR...also, please tell us about the sponsorship that was declined by FS union cause they (the sponsor) wanted coompetant ppl i key positions..?? I can think of a few more questions, but dont want to embarrass you too much...

  • francois.stevens - 2014-04-11 22:02

    Not saying Naka is doing a sterling job; but I suppose friends like Theuns were also first to congratulate Naka and his 'Grey tjommas' when they excelled in 2013? ( the latter in particular)

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