There are only a few positives Cheetahs’ coach Naka Drotske can take from his rugby side’s 39-16 thumping by the Bulls in a warm-up match at the Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane, he said on Sunday.
The men from Bloemfontein struggled to get out of the blocks while the Bulls had the lion’s share of the possession in the match on Saturday.
The Bulls did most of the attacking, leaving the Cheetahs to defend most of the game.
Drotske’s side had their work cut out in the scrums, while their lineouts — normally one of the Cheetahs’ strong points — were a total shambles.
With less than two weeks before their first Super Rugby match against the Lions in Johannesburg, Drotsk has little time to remedy whatever went wrong against the Bulls.
“We defended well in the first half — good defence is something we pride ourselves on — but that isn’t something you can do for 60 or 70 minutes,” Drotske said.
“It is a very tiresome thing to do and that is one of the reasons why we lost the game.
“We also couldn’t look after our own ball and you can’t play rugby without possession.”
It was the Bulls’ second warm-up match, while the Cheetahs came from victories over the Southern Kings and Stormers.
Cheetahs hooker and captain Adriaan Strauss struggled to find locks Izak van der Westhuizen, Andries Ferreira and replacement Francois Uys.
“Our lineouts were very poor indeed — usually it is one of our strengths — and we also made a lot of silly mistakes,” said Drotske.
“We definitely have to improve on our performance, no doubt about that.
“It’s a warm-up game so luckily we can go back and work on what went wrong.”
Youngsters like flyhalf Johan Goosen, fullback Willie le Roux and scrumhalf Piet van Zyl did particularly well against an experienced Bulls side.
Goosen made a huge contribution, scoring all the Cheetahs’ points, which included a brilliant individual try.
“Youngsters like Johan played well as individuals, but as a team we put in a poor effort,” Drotske said.
“We lacked any intensity on attack. Hopefully we can bounce back and be ready for our first official game against the Lions.” — Sapa