Juan Smith says the Cheetahs’ inability to maintain composure for 80 minutes is costing them matches.
The Cheetahs lost their second consecutive match on Friday by a six-point margin, and when asked about his team’s performance afterward, Smith was clearly disappointed.
“We are making the same mistakes as last year,” the Cheetahs skipper said. “If the game was played for 70 minutes we could say we’re playing well. But we’re not playing well enough in those last 10 minutes. We’re not putting points on the board when we need to.”
Coach Naka Drotske also believes the Cheetahs’ finishing needs to sharpen if they are to win these close encounters. Adriaan Strauss was held up in the first half while the ball was knocked out of Bees Roux’s grasp only minutes later. In the dying stages, the Force forwards also won a crucial turnover on their own line.
“This game is all about taking your opportunities,” said Drotske. “We got over their line twice and we didn’t score. You only get so many opportunities in a match and so you have to make sure you make them count.”
The Cheetahs were undone by indiscipline last week when Meyer Bosman and Heinrich Brussow were sin-binned. Although they only conceded three points in Wian du Preez’s absence in this fixture, the disadvantage was patent in the latter stages.
“There was a bit of frustration [at the breakdown], but it comes down to the fact that you can’t play the Super 14 with 14 men. If we cut out those yellow cards then we really have a chance,” Smith said.
“There were some positives to take out of this game, so there is something to work with.”