Currie Cup

Cheetahs 'in difficult position', but still keep Currie Cup faith

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Hawies Fourie. (Photo by Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images)
Hawies Fourie. (Photo by Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images)
  • Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie admits his charges are in a "difficult position" as their Currie Cup campaign falters.
  • But he also believes the resourceful franchise can still reach the playoffs with a late surge of form, where things are more unpredictable again.
  • Bench players such as Ruben de Haas and Reniel Hugo put up their hands for starting spots.

There are enough signs suggesting that the Cheetahs' tumultuous 2020 season is close to derailing completely, but Hawies Fourie, head coach, still believes it can be salvaged.

Renowned for being plucky and proud, the Free Staters have the added incentive of being the Currie Cup's defending champions for salvaging their current campaign.

But this past weekend's 39-23 loss to the Lions at home wasn't merely demoralising, it also puts them eight log points adrift of their provincial neighbours in the battle for a spot in the top four.

"We're definitely very proud of our record in the Currie Cup, we're the defending champions so we really want to win again," said Fourie.

"But we're now in a very difficult position. At least we have four matches left."

While two of those are against relative lightweights in the Pumas and Griquas, they'll also need to dispose of the Sharks and Western Province.

"I believe we'll have to win all four games to have a chance of making the playoffs," said Fourie.

"With the Sharks beating the Bulls, we probably can't catch them in second place. We'll have to fight. If we can get into the playoffs, then it's one-off games again, where anything is possible.

"Those two games against Province and Sharks will be very difficult. With the errors we're making at the moment, we can't expect to do well against them. We have to improve."

One positive development in that quest though is the encouraging form shown by certain fringe members, notably replacement scrumhalf Ruben de Haas and lock Reniel Hugo.

Both made discernible impacts off the bench and could push for starting places that reinvigorate their team's flagging effort.

"The bench made a difference. When (USA international) Ruben came on, we kept the ball and bit better and that allowed him to play a bit," said Fourie.

"Reniel also made an impact, he won some lineout balls and gave us stability. But we'll need to start better."

The Cheetahs' next match is against the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday.

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