Cheetahs expect challenging opener

2016-01-18 19:47
Francois Venter (Gallo Images)

Bloemfontein - The Cheetahs are aiming for a winning start to the 2016 Super Rugby campaign, but realise it won’t come easy against Argentina’s Los Jaguares.

The Cheetahs were frustrated by their own inconsistencies last season, which saw them only manage five wins from their 16 fixtures.

However, they will be motivated by the positives, which included a 42-29 victory over the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld under coach Franco Smith towards the latter stages of the campaign.

In order to record a successful tournament run in 2016, the men from Bloemfontein franchise are targeting a winning start when they face Super Rugby new boys Jaguares at Free State Stadium on February 26.

Cheetahs captain Francois Venter admits, though, it will be no easy feat against the Argentinians.

“The team is very positive as our preparations are going really well, and we are well aware of the challenge of facing the Jaguares in our opening match,” Venter told MyPlayers.

“They have 22 internationals in their squad and they will also be high in confidence after finishing fourth at the Rugby World Cup. 

However, we will need to play to our strengths and ensure we do the job on the day. We also have home-ground advantage, so hopefully that puts us in a good position on game day.”

The Cheetahs are known for their expansive game plan and rugby fans can expect more entertaining attacking rugby from the team. However, Venter added that the players have been fine-tuning other areas of their game.

“We’re a good attacking team and that will always be one of our strengths, but we are hoping to develop into a more complete unit this season,” said Venter.

“The battle at the breakdowns will be vital. We need to ensure we keep hold of possession when we have ball in hand. Statistics suggest that many tries come from turnovers, so we can’t afford to concede possession,” said Venter.

“Our defence also needs to be strong and accurate. If we can do well in these departments, we will do well this season.”

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