Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie, speaking to Rugby365 ahead of their Round Eight encounter with the Chiefs in Bloemfontein on Saturday, said they have moved open from the disastrous Australasian tour – which was highlighted by the refereeing inconsistencies that cost at least one match official his place on the tournament panel.
Argentinean referee Francisco Pastrana was one of three match officials that became the casualties of SANZAR’s ‘performance review after Round Six – when a host of glaring mistakes in the Cheetahs’ 30-40 loss to the Blues cost him his job.
Fourie said last weekend’s bye round could not have come at a better time, as it allowed them to recharged their batteries.
“We needed the break desperately to clear our heads and work hard for the next game,” he said of their encounter with the defending champion Chiefs on Saturday.
“It won’t be easy to get back on a winning track against the Chiefs, but that is what we have to do.”
Fourie said the Cheetahs shot themselves in the foot the past five, six weeks and they have to rectify that – especially in their remaining games at home.
They also can’t afford to linger on the first seven weeks of the tournament or some of the shocking refereeing calls that went against them.
“We can do nothing about that,” Fourie said when asked by this website about the poor calls that cost Pastrana his job and the fact that it may well have cost the Cheetahs the game against the Blues.
“That is in the past,” he said, adding: “He [Pastrana] won’t feature in Super Rugby, but we are still playing in the competition.
“We have to turn it around ourselves, we can’t expect referees to do us favours. We have to close that chapter behind us.”
He admitted it won’t be easy to lift the players after such a disappointing tour, but felt it is possible.
“You require just one good game and a win.
“It is just that little self-believe that a few of the players still require.
“There are a few of our frontline players who are performing below their abilities and as a team we have also not perform to expectations.
“However, if you have one good game in which things go your way the whole situation changes very quickly.
“Our focus now is to get that win that will turn things around for us.
“It doesn’t matter who the team is we are playing against, we put ourselves in this position and we have to get ourselves out of this.”
The Cheetahs also received another dosage of bad news on the injury front,
Star loose forward Philip van der Walt fractured his left hand and will be sidelined for the next six weeks.
However, they do have enough depth, with Sevens Springbok Johannes Prinsloo likely to slot in at No.8 – while Pieter Labuschagne and Jean Cook are likely to be the starting flanks.
Teboho Mohoje is likely to be the beneficiary of the vacancy on the bench.
There is also a chance that Bok prop Coenie Oosthuizen will be cleared to resume duties after returning home from tour early with a neck injury.
That means the Cheetahs will be able to select from a full collection of front row forwards – which include Boks Trevor Nyakane and Coenie Oosthuizen, along with Rossouw de Klerk, Caylib Oosthuizen, Nick Schonert and Nicolaas van Dyk.
By Jan de Koning