The biggest disappointments for the Reds, who were outscored by four tries to one by the Waratahs, was that they conceded 22 turnovers and missed 11 tackles.
However, Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie was quick to point out that his own team – who missed 42 tackles and conceded 24 turnovers against the Rebels – will have to lift their game considerably.
“We all know there are no easy matches and you can knock over any team on any given day if you are switched on and you execution is good on the day,” Fourie told this website in an interview from the team’s training base on the Gold Coast.
“The Reds may have been on the wrong end of a big hiding from the Waratahs, but in my book the Waratahs are one of the top teams in the competition this year.
“While that result may have surprised some people, the Waratahs are one of the better teams this year.”
The other big factor is that the Cheetahs have never beaten the Reds in Brisbane.
However, they are hoping for a another ‘first’, of which there have been many in the last two years – such as reaching the play-offs for the first time last year and beating the Bulls for the first time two weeks ago.
“We want to make amends for last week and get back on the winning track,” he said, adding: “We have to win at least two of our [remaining] tour matches.
“Obviously we want to win all three and if we want to make amends for that home loss to the Lions [in Week One] we simply have to win all our remaining tour matches.”
While the Waratahs were able to cut the Reds to ribbons with their off-loading game, coach Richard Graham dismissed any concerns about his side’s defence – pointing to statistics they have missed the least amount of tackles in the competition.
But they will need to muscle up more with dominant first-up tackles, particularly on bullocking skipper Adriaan Strauss and elusive Springboks wing Willie le Roux, and also work hard to cover on the inside.
“They’re definitely a side who innovates and are happy to try things anywhere on the field so we have to mentally engaged at all times,” Graham said.
The Cheetahs opted for a “marathon video session” earlier this week to address their own shortcomings.
“We had some brutally honest discussions,” Fourie told this website.
“The attitude of everybody has been great at training this week – you can see an obvious difference in how the players trained this week.
“We know we have to make an enormous step up – we have to lift our game, lift our intensity and everybody realise the importance of the situation.”
The Cheetahs also suffered another costly blow with steamrolling prop Coenie Oosthuizen forced home with a career-threatening neck injury.
Coach Naka Drotské has replaced the tighthead with Nicolaas van Dyk in one of three changes, while also starting Hennie Daniller at fullback and moving Le Roux to the wing.
2013: Cheetahs won 27-13, Bloemfontein
2011: Reds won 41-8, Brisbane
2010: Reds won 31-10, Bloemfontein
2009: Reds won 22-3, Brisbane
2008: Cheetahs won 29-14, Bloemfontein
2007: Reds won 23-13, Brisbane
Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Dom Shipperley, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O’Donoghue, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Anthony Fainga’a, 23 Ben Tapuai.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Johannes Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Rynhardt Landman, 20 Jean Cook, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Cornal Hendricks.
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Matt O’Brien (Australia)
TMO: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)