Bloem Boys get reality check

Cheetahs captain Ryno van der Merwe says his team must “go back to the drawing board” after suffering their second 50-point thrashing in the space of two weeks.

Having been blitzed 53-20 by the Brumbies in Canberra last weekend, the Currie Cup champions were crushed 53-17 by the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday. Had Robbie Deans not emptied his bench in the second half the Kiwis could have racked up 80 or 90 points.

Van der Merwe admitted the Cheetahs were on a steep learning curve.

“High standards are needed and we’re going to go back to the drawing board this week,” he said. “The Crusaders are a quality side. If you give them turnover ball it’s going to be a nightmare on defence. There are still too many first-up tackles missed and too many turnovers lost. We have to work on that.”

McCaw, who was substituted just after half-time, was pleased his side maintained their intensity for longer than in recent games.

“We’re happy that we carried on with the job. We’ve been at the same place at halftime in the last couple of weeks and we wanted to carry on,” he said. “For most of that second half we used the ball pretty well and didn’t make many mistakes.”

Crusaders flyhalf Dan Carter said he was enjoying playing in a team who were on top of their game and hoped it would continue away from Christchurch.

“We’ve got a lot of self-belief within the side and I think it’s showing out there. We’ve got a tough three weeks on the road now and we’re looking forward to it,” he said. “A lot of new faces were thrown into the team this week and they played well.”

The Crusaders take on the Force in Perth next weekend where they should pick up another five points, while the Cheetahs travel to Hickville for their final tour match against the Chiefs.