Cheetahs to build on the positives

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The exciting Banie Britz is a prime example of a player that got an opportunity to play in the SA Cup and proved to be the real deal. PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

The Toyota Cheetahs will build on their showing in the SA Cup when they assemble in Bloemfontein to begin preparing for their Currie Cup title defence.
The Cheetahs failed to reach the final of the SA Cup and ultimately had to settle for fourth overall.

The Free State used the competition to build on their depth and fielded a total of 66 different players throughout their campaign.

This allowed the Cheetahs to give players that haven’t played in close to two years much-needed time on the park, and this revealed some gems in the team. A prime example is the lock Mzwanele Zito, who has had very little playing time since joining from the Griquas. During the SA Cup, he was sublime in the second row and made himself a strong contender for a starting role in the Currie Cup.

The Director of Rugby at the Cheetahs, Frans Steyn, told Bloemfontein Courant that the next step is to take the positives from their campaign, head into a preseason and get on the same page for the Currie Cup.

“We used 66 players in the SA Cup, so saying that we definitely achieved something, we know where we need to work, what we need to work on going into the Currie Cup,” said Steyn.

“We now know where our strengths and weaknesses are, and we are trying to get a game plan or make plans to be at our best when the Currie Cup starts.

“Before the SA Cup, we didn’t have time to prepare properly. We didn’t have a proper preseason to get everybody on the same page.

“We were coaching, learning, and installing during the SA Cup. Then when you put 66 guys on the field week-in, week-out by swapping the team around and making six to eight changes every week, you are going to struggle to get continuity.

“That was the aim of this competition for us, and I think we definitely did achieve something. I know losing and all of that is not nice, but I think we definitely got more answers and by winning this competition easily, we would not have been as sufficient as we are now. There’s a lot we need to do and we need to work on. I think we’ve got a group of guys that’s eager to do that in this preseason which is starting on the 3rd of June.

“We can’t wait for the preseason to start and get stuck into the Currie Cup.

The 2024 Currie Cup will kick off in July and the Cheetahs are set to begin their title defence against the Griffons in Bloemfontein. – MORGAN PIEK