Cheetahs feeling the pressure to reach play offs

The prospect of securing a Super Rugby playoff berth for the first time is likely to curtail the Cheetahs’ enterprising play when they clash with the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.

The Bloemfontein side were not considered serious challengers for the playoffs but, after a spate of surprising wins on their Australasian tour, followed by wins against the Stormers and the Kings, they are in with a realistic shout for an eventual top-six slot.

Victory at Newlands on Saturday would be enough to secure a playoff berth, according to Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie.

“It is a very important game for us, as we are just one win away from securing a spot in the top six when the league season ends,” Fourie said.

“There is a lot of pressure on us to secure our place in the top six in the next two games and if we can get a bonus point out of one of these games we are in a position where we can finish in the top four.”

The Stormers have a completely different agenda going into match, hoping to win their remaining three games and miraculously squeeze into the playoffs.

Coach Allister Coetzee said the Stormers had so much more to play for, even though they seemed headed for the 2013 also-rans Super Rugby scrap heap.

“It is not a case of the competition being over for us,” Coetzee said.

“We are a proud Stormers team and, who knows, with some showers of blessings something might happen.

“We’re definitely not happy with our position on the log and the next three games are really important to make sure we improve our log position.”

He said the team had taken a long, hard look at where they had let themselves down this season, and it was in some of the basics on attack, like catching and passing.

“It leads to us not getting continuity so, hopefully, this weekend the things that we’ve focussed on will definitely improve our attacking game.”

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