Bok prop Os du Randt believes the Cheetahs victory against the Sharks could be the turning point of their Vodacom Super 14 season.
The Cheetahs lost their opening match of the tournament to the Bulls in Bloemfontein, but pipped the Sharks by a point in Durban on Saturday to lift themselves into the top half of the table.
“Free State are the Currie Cup champions and everyone had high expectations of us going into the Super 14,” Du Randt told Die Volksblad. “The victory definitely helped relieve the pressure.
“I told the guys how important it was to get a win in the second round of the tournament – in the past I’d become used to only winning matches near the end [with the Cats]. This early win is huge for us and shows that we’re on the right track.”
Du Randt also had a go at his direct opponent on Saturday, Sharks tighthead prop BJ Botha.
“BJ is a great scrummager and one of our best tightheads,” he said. “However, he gets away with murder, with the way he sometimes scrums in.”
Coach Rassie Erasmus was relieved to come away with his first win of the season.
“It is a relief to bounce back after the loss last week,” he said. “ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a bit of a roller-coaster ride for us: the high of the Currie Cup final, then the low of losing to the Bulls, and then being expected to be the South African team to come last.
“You also have to accept that you will lose games in this competition, but it was nice to win. You also have to look at the stats. We gave away seven points with a runaway try and we missed four kicks, so it was satisfying that the guys didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t drop their heads.”
The Cheetahs now play two home matches in a row – against the Highlanders and Hurricanes – before taking on the Stormers in Cape Town.