The Cheetahs need to replicate the Lions’ brave defensive effort in order to beat the Brumbies, says Hawies Fourie.
The touring Aussies have lost their first two matches and play their final South African fixture in Bloemfontein this Saturday. The Lions defied all odds when they trounced the Canberra outfit two weeks ago. Fourie admitted the Cheetahs have taken a few lessons from that performance in preparing for the coming clash.
‘The key to the Lions’ victory was a solid defence,’ the assistant coach told keo.co.za. ‘History also shows that in Week Three of a tour teams like the Brumbies struggle. So we’re definitely in with a chance.
‘Our defence was a problem on tour and although it improved from the first match, there were still too many linebreaks and missed one-on-one tackles.’
The Cheetahs are coming off a bye, a heaven-sent respite after their hellish tour Down Under. They finished the five-match sojourn without a win and are yet to record a victory in 2009.
Fourie believes the week off has done his charges a world of good.
‘Everyone’s glad to be back and the bye arrived at exactly the right time. We’ve had an opportunity to recharge the batteries and are keen to start our home-run with a win.
‘It was a truly disappointing tour. The results were disappointing, but what was even worse was the way we played. Last year we lost every tour game but at least we were competitive.
‘We need to make a step up. We’re at home now but will be playing the teams sitting at the top half of the log,’ said Fourie.
While defence remains a priority, the Cheetahs need to sharpen their attack. They’ve scored only nine tries in six matches, their poor finishing and shocking handling culling promising movements time and again.
‘I feel we need to execute a lot better and our handling needs to be sharper,’ said Fourie. ‘Our kicking is at perhaps 70% of where it should be – there are still far too many aimless kicks.
‘We’re creating opportunities but we’re not finishing.’
Following this Saturday’s battle with the Brumbies, the Cheetahs will host the Sharks, Chiefs, Crusaders and Waratahs before heading up to Pretoria to face the Bulls. Their final league game is against the Stormers at Vodacom Park.
By Jon Cardinelli