Cheetahs set target of two wins on the road

The Cheetahs leave for their five-match Australasian tour on the back of the 34-28 defeat against the Lions on Friday night, but remain upbeat about their chances and have set themselves at least two overseas wins as a goal.

Coach Naka Drotske feels two wins overseas will place them in a handy position when they return with six home matches plus the clash in Pretoria against the Bulls as their only away match.

Friday night’s defeat against the Lions rankles, Drotske admitted on Friday night. While the diplomatic and wise reply is that every match is the only one a team focuses on, the Cheetahs will have targeted last year’s wooden spoonists as an away win.

But the Cheetahs conceded three tries (21 points) while their two players were in the sin bin, and their forwards seemed in a trance for the first 60 minutes while the Lions dominated proceedings.

However, captain and Friday night’s Man of the Match Juan Smith is confident they can turn things around overseas.

Last year they came very close against the Chiefs, Waratahs and Brumbies – and that, feels Smith, is enough to motivate them to success.

“It’s important for us to win there,” he said.

“We know what to do.”

Smith emphasised they have not targeted any particular sides on the tour to achieve a first-ever Cheetahs win. They’ll take the matches one by one, he said.

Breaking their duck in Australasia won’t be easy, however.

The Cheetahs play their first match in Perth on Friday night when they face the Force, followed by the Reds the following weekend.

In New Zealand the Hurricanes, Blues and Highlanders lie in wait.

They’ll have a week’s break after their return. Then the Cheetahs play the Brumbies, Sharks, Chiefs, Crusaders, Waratahs, Bulls and Stormers on the trot – all at home except for the Bulls.

To make the semi-finals, they will need at least eight wins.

That means if they achieve their goal of two overseas wins, they’ll have to win six from the seven they play in South Africa on their return.

Yes, the Lions defeat could hurt them.

Sapa –

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