Sport

Time To Finish Better: Smith

The home team seeks to close the Pro 14 chapter on a high note in their remaining matches starting with Ospreys this coming Saturday, with Dragons and the Kings up next.

Ahead of Saturday’s tough PRO14 home game against Ospreys, Toyota Free State Cheetahs coach Franco Smith is hoping for nothing less than victory.

This will be without doubt a very tough fixture as both teams will go out in search of victory as they seat 5th and 6th respectively on the log in Conference A.

Speaking ahead of what promises to be mouth-watering encounter, Smith said his troops will go in search of nothing else than maximum points against the visitors.  

Never the one to hold back, Smith conceded that the current Pro 14 campaign was below standards. Cheetahs made the playoffs then but with three matches to go in this campaign‚, they are out of contention. The last thing Smith wants is for his team to go through the motions.

“Our execution needs to improve,” said the coach. “The frustration is little things‚ the small errors. Teams execute well when they get 20m from the tryline in Europe. They score tries after 10 phases‚ something we are not that used to in Super Rugby.

“In the northern hemisphere, every inch counts and ultimately the teams that make the least mistakes end up winning,” Smith said.

The Cheetahs have had to devise two different playing styles depending on which side of the equator they play on.

In Europe, they have to be more measured. “We can’t play in South Africa with a defensive mind set‚” he noted.

“We have to score. We need to find ways of scoring tries‚ then you can worry about stopping the opposition. It is crucial for us to put points on the board and secure the necessary maximum points that will see us move to a better position on the log than where we are now,” he added.

Smith indicated that part of the problem was their failure to score and defend collected points. “If you look at the manner in which we’ve played over the premier games we’ve come short in both scoring and defending whenever on the lead and that has resulted in us being where we are today,” he cited.

Travelling to South Africa with Bloemfontein being their first destination, Ospreys see the return of Dan Baker, Rhodri Jones, Dan Lydiate, and Gareth Thomas back from injury. Sam Parry is also included following his loan spell at Bristol Bears.

Smith said his players need to finish with a spring in their step in their remaining matches against Ospreys‚ Dragons and the Kings.

“We want to win those games because they serve as preparation for the Currie Cup. We want to go out on a high.”

Cheetahs are also too aware their sponsors can do with some good news. Said Andrew Kirby‚ president and chief executive of Toyota South Africa: “We will be watching the Currie Cup with a lot of interest.

By: Thapelo Molebatsi