Cheetahs coach Franco Smith says his young side is expecting a tough encounter against the experienced Ospreys in Swansea on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The Bloemfontein-based franchise started their Pro14 campaign with a 38-0 loss to Munster, during which they lost captain Oupa Mohoje to a potentially season-ending knee injury.
‘In the first half, we knocked so hard on the door to score but we did not use our opportunities, which is a classic mark of a young team in a new environment,’ Smith told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘We did not use our opportunities and they did.
‘We played a very well-organised defence and that is the best way to better your attack. If you can breach sides like Munster that are defensively driven, there is no better way than to see the opportunities we created and how we will better that.
‘A little bit of self-belief in our own capacity is necessary. These are young guys and they are looking up to big challenges and a bit of experience and belief can make a big difference.’
Smith confirmed Mohoje had been sent home for scans, adding that an announcement will be made surrounding the flanker’s status as well as the captaincy on Wednesday.
‘Oupa’s injury does not look good and is a concern. It does leave us with having to make a change in leadership, which is less than ideal.’
Despite the loss, Smith says his side remains upbeat and is hoping to improve against an Ospreys side sporting the likes of George North and Alun Wyn Jones.
‘The morale of the team is excellent. We are still excited. We have definitely made huge improvements from the first two games of the Currie Cup so there is a good excitement.
‘Last season we also lost our first game [against Ulster] and there is a long season ahead. Somewhere everyone is going to lose a game.
‘Against the Ospreys, we are facing a side that has invested a lot of money in top internationals. We will have to learn quickly. We are hoping to surprise ourselves and them with the lessons we learned.’
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