• Venter: Cheetahs need all-round game

    New captain Francois Venter says the Cheetahs are aiming to develop into a more ‘complete’ team during this Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.

    After a memorable 2013 season, which saw the Cheetahs progress to the play-offs for the first time, the Bloemfontein-based side has since finished 14th and 12th in the last two competitions.

    Whereas an improved defensive display helped them to reach the knockout stage in 2013, the Cheetahs then slipped back into bad habits, conceding a shocking 59 and 65 tries respectively in 2014 and 2015.

    This will clearly be an area of focus for new coach Franco Smith, and Venter said they had certainly been fine-tuning all areas of their game during the pre-season period.

    ‘We’re a good attacking team and that will always be one of our strengths, but we are hoping to develop into a more complete unit this season,’ he told MyPlayers.co.za.

    ‘The battle at the breakdowns will be vital. We need to ensure we keep hold of possession when we have ball in hand. Statistics suggest that many tries come from turnovers, so we can’t afford to concede possession. Our defence also needs to be strong and accurate. If we can do well in these departments, we will do well this season.’

    The Cheetahs kick off their Super Rugby season against Argentina’s Jaguars on 26 February.

    Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images

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    Craig Lewis