Cheetahs

Battered Cheetahs search for answers

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The Cheetahs, struggling to come to terms with their inability to produce the quality of rugby that the Super 14 competition requires, were dealt another cruel blow on Monday when captain Juan Smith was injured at training.

Cheetahs team manager Naka Drotsk’ admitted he was at a loss for words to explain his team’s slump – four straight losses and seven defeats in the last eight matches after a promising start.

However, worse news was the confirmation that the team’s captain, Smith, is unlikely to play against the Western Force in Perth in the penultimate round this coming Friday.

Drotsk’ said Smith pulled his hamstring in training on Monday and at this stage “it doesn’t look like he will play” at the Subiaco Oval against the Force.

The silver lining around this dark cloud is that no major injuries – the usual bumps and bruises – came out of the disappointing 13-23 loss to the bottom-placed Reds last Saturday.

“The entire squad is bitterly disappointed,” Drotsk’ said from the team’s base in Fremantle, on the outskirts of Perth, where they are preparing for Friday’s encounter.

“The players know they let themselves down and they let the coaching staff down,” he said of the loss in Brisbane last week.

Drotsk’ said that while the preparations for the match were fine, the players simply “didn’t turn up mentally” for the game.

“They were not playing with any passion,” he added.

He admitted it was going to be tough to lift the team for the last game on a five-match Australasian tour this week.

During a frank team meeting after the loss to Reds the team management asked the players to openly express their views on the team’s poor showing in the past two months and particularly against the Reds last week and apparently the senior players put their hands up and accepted responsibility.

“We’ll see what they [the senior players] produce on Friday [against the Force],” Drotsk’ told this website.

While Drotsk’ could not supply any answers to the many nagging questions about the team’s inability to live up to their early season promise, he said they will “take it on the chin” and work hard to finish the season with a couple of victories.

By Jan de Koning 365 Digital 

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