Packing for Perth

Rassie Erasmus believes the Cheetahs warm-up match in Perth on Saturday provides perfect preparation for the Super 14.

The Cheetahs thrashed the Spears 48-0 in PE last Saturday, scoring eight tries, but the Force fixture will give a better indication of the progress they’ve made in training this season.

While some have questioned the wisdom of flying so far for a warm-up game, Erasmus insists it’s a worthwhile exercise.

“It’s a direct flight, so it’s not as much travelling as people think,” the Currie Cup-winning coach told keo.co.za. “Most of the guys have never been to Australia before so this will give them a taste of what they can expect in the Super 14. It’s only a warm-up game, so we’ll be able to give all 26 players a run. When we’re not training, I want to take the guys around Perth and show them the place, which should be a great experience for them.”

The Cheetahs begin their Super 14 against the Bulls in Bloemfontein on 11 February. While Erasmus acknowledges the importance of getting off to a winning start, he says a defeat wouldn’t be the end of the world.

“Every game is crucial and if we play like we’ve been training, then it’ll be a close game,” he said. “But I’m not going to tell my players that it’s a make or break game, because then what happens if we lose? It’s a big game, but it’s not a do-or-die affair.”