The Toyota Cheetahs will have to move on from their “embarrassing” 41-13 defeat to the Zebre in Parma last week during the Guinness PRO14.
The Cheetahs were stunned by the Italian outfit for what was their first-ever victory over the team from Bloemfontein.
Zebre did have a slight advantage over the South Africans as they had been playing during the European season, while the Cheetahs by the same token were enjoying some much needed time away from the game following a gruelling preseason, the Currie Cup and the first handful of games in the PRO14.
It was expected that the Cheetahs would be somewhat rusty, but they are also the first to concede that they let themselves down with simple schoolboy errors.
The Cheetahs were sloppy in defence, impatient with ball in hand on the attack, lost some lineouts and the discipline was somewhat lacking. Having said all of that, there are easy fixes for the team and it will be a matter of just applying the basics correctly during their training sessions over the coming weeks as they prepare for back-to-back derbies against the Southern Kings from Port Elizabeth.
These two game are very important indeed, and while the Kings themselves suffered a heavy defeat to Edinburgh at Murrayfield over the weekend, it will no doubt fancy their chances of recording a first win over the Cheetahs in the PRO14.
The Cheetahs coach, Hawies Fourie, told Bloemfontein Courant that they were disappointed with their performance in Italy last week, but it also something that they have to take on the chin and move on.
“We are very disappointed with our performance in Parma, it was really not a good showing by us.
“There was not a single aspect of our game we could be satisfied with. We made a lot of mistakes on the attack, we defended poorly, gave away a lot of momentum and lost a couple of lineouts and that all led to a very frustrating game for us.
“We will have to rock up to the party very quickly back in Bloemfontein.
“There are two very important games lying ahead against the Southern Kings and we will have to win both and play proper rugby in both matches to rebuild our confidence, and best prepare ourselves for the challenges that are waiting.
“We will take it on the chin, but it is not a good feeling and we are very disappointed in ourselves.”
The Kings host the Cheetahs on 25 January at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth, with the return fixture a week later at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein.