Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie has called for his side to cut out all the sloppy errors they made against the Border Bulldogs in a disappointing pre-season friendly.
The Cheetahs coaching staff were left fuming after the team turned up with the wrong mental approach to the game.
Fourie believes the problems started when the EP Kings announced that they wouldn't be fielding their full strength side, as had originally been planned.
"The guys didn't pitch up mentally and underestimated the team we played against. We were disappointed not to be able to play the Kings' A side, but you have to respect any team you play against," Fourie told this website.
"We made a lot of handling errors and lost the ball in contact too often. On attack we created enough opportunities, but we threw away a number of tries.
"The Bulldogs tackled their hearts out and there were a few sore ribs after the game, so credit to them in the way they played and especially the way they defended."
The good news for the Cheetahs was that there were no serious injuries in the match.
"Luckily we had no injuries, but there were a few damaged egos," Fourie quipped.
It is always difficult for the coaching staff of the Bloemfontein franchise to blend the Cheetahs and Griquas stars together in the early stages of the competition.
Fourie explained that the plan this season was to play a few extra friendly matches to clear up any questions the selectors might have.
"In previous years we took about four or fives games to get our best XV on the field," he said. "It's always difficult to compare the Griquas and Cheetahs players and there are often 50/50 calls we need to make.
"In the past it took a while to decide between guys like Sarel Pretorius and Tewis de Bruyn, Naas Olivier and Sias Ebersohn or Riaan Viljoen and Hennie Daniller. They are all quality players, but it depends on who is in form and picking the right combinations."
On the injury front props WP Nel and Coenie Oosthuizen are both making good progress, with Nel expected to play some part in Saturday's clash with the Stormers.
"WP Nel will be able to play against the Stormers for about 40 minutes and Coenie is still touch and go for the first Super Rugby game against the Lions," Fourie confirmed.
However, the Cheetahs face another anxious wait to find out when skipper Juan Smith will be able to return to the field following his most recent operation on his troublesome Achilles.
"He is on crutches and in moon boot for the next three weeks and then we can re-evaluate," Fourie added.
By Timmy Hancox
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