Reeling from their injury-time defeat last weekend, the Cheetahs will be looking to bounce back against the Scarletts in their PRO14 Rugby clash in Llanelli tomorrow.
The Cheetahs looked set for their first victory in Ireland leading Connacht with 10 minutes to go in the clash. Two late tries by Connacht midfielder Tom Farrell coupled with a red card to Cheetahs centre Dries Swanepoel ended their early unbeaten run in the competition with a 24-22 defeat.
Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie said his charges needed to improve on their first-half performance when they take on Welsh side Scarletts.
“We will have to improve in different areas, we conceded too many penalties against Connacht in the first half, and we didn’t play particularly well in the first half,” Fourie said.
“We only had 32 percent possession and made a lot of handling errors – 15 – and we will have to improve on that.”
The Cheetahs had no plans of abandoning their ball-in-hand approach to adapt to the Northern Hemisphere. Instead, Fourie has called on his players to cut down on unforced errors.
“We are a ball-in-hand team, and we want to score tries, and we want to attack and play at a high pace,” Fourie said.
“If we want to do that we need to stop making as many mistakes. We conceded 13 penalties as well, and that’s 28 times we gave the ball away against Connacht.”
Fourie expected a fast-paced match with Scarletts “playing at a high-tempo” and “attacking from broken play”.
“They have a really different kicking game. They kick a lot of grubbers and chips behind the opposition and the score a lot of tries from that so we will have to be wary of their kicking game,” he said.
“Their line speed from the first phase, they come up at a very fast pace. We will have to deal with it, and we have a few plans on how to counter that.”
Cheetahs stalwart, hooker Joseph Dweba, will run out in his 50th match for the team which will serve as extra motivation tomorrow.
The Bloemfontein side suffered a setback with Swanepoel given a three-week ban following his red card for charging into a ruck.
Meanwhile, the Southern Kings will be looking to clinch their first victory of the campaign when they take on last season’s finalists, the Glasgow Warriors, today.
The team will be without flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis who was injured in their defeat to Italian side Benetton. Former South African Under-20 centre JT Jackson is expected to wear the No 10 jersey in Catrakilis’ place.
Kings coach Robbie Kempson said Glasgow Warriors would pose a significant threat with some of their World Cup players possibly making a return.
It’s another big battle, we expect them to make a few changes in the forward pack given they need the win, and we have a fairly young backline, but we are confident that they will produce the goods."
The Kings will have a female referee in Glasgow with former Ireland woman’s international Joy Neville taking charge of the match.