Cheetahs power up for Lions

The slaying of three minnows has provided the Cheetahs with valuable momentum but Rory Duncan believes they need to up the ante in Johannesburg this Saturday.

Boland were blown away in the first round before Griquas and the Valke were beaten comfortably. This weekend sees the first real challenge for the joint-champions as they travel up to Ellis Park.

The Lions scraped a 35-31 win over Border last weekend, but the Cheetahs will disregard this game in the context of the Currie Cup proper. The Lions represent their first significant hurdle of the campaign, and Duncan, while confident has confirmed his charges are preparing for a far tougher contest.

“We do realise that those victories were against the three lesser teams of the competition,” the Free State captain told Keo.co.za, “but there are still too many mistakes that we need to cut out as it does effect our momentum.”

The breakdown has been an area of concern with the Cheetahs forwards committing far too many technical offences. The backline has also struggled to finish, a problem that plagued the Super 14 side in the recent competition.

Duncan has allayed concerns and is adamant time is on their side. With 11 games still to play in the league stage, it would be premature to consider a few missed opportunities as a major problem.

“The team has been building nicely over the last few weeks and what people need to remember is that it’s still early days in the competition. There have been a few little things that have hampered our game in the first three matches but fortunately we have managed to win those games.

“We have worked at fixing a few problems, but as for rhythm, it is not something I am overly worried about.”

The only injury concern for the Cheetahs was Eddie Fredericks, who was has been sidelined since scoring a brace against the Valke. Duncan confirmed Fredericks was over the shoulder ailment and will be available to play the Lions.

A victory for the Cheetahs will extend their lead at the top of the Currie Cup table. At 15 points, they are four clear of the Sharks, but a win in Johannesburg will go a long way to maintaining pole position before they head back to Bloemfontein for a battle with Western Province.

By Jon Cardinelli