Drotske issues Cheetahs a warning for Reds clash

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has issued a warning to his players after they were beaten 35-14 by the Rebels in the Melbourne franchise’s first Super Rugby outing this year.

The Cheetahs beat the Bulls in their last home match but then opened their tour with an away loss and face 2011 Super Rugby champions the Reds this weekend.

Once the Cheetahs have played the Reds they move on to New Zealand for matches against the Hurricanes and Blues in New Zealand.

Coach Drotske said that he was not happy with the Rebels loss in which his team conceded 25 turnovers and let their gaurd down defensively.

“We lost every single battle on the park, and I told the players I wasn’t happy with this,” he told Supersport.

“We need to have more respect for the ball when we have possession and we definitely need to improve our discipline, it’s simply not good enough,” he said.

The Cheetahs struggled to string togther a series of phases against the Rebels and Drotske says that they cannot afford to play like that again.

“We need more consistency. We can’t be down one week against the Lions, then good the next week against the Bulls and then play like this. All that we ask is that the players pitch up for the game in the correct mental frame of mind,” he said.

Drotske said that it was “simply not on” that they could be bullied by an Australian team at the breakdown.

“If you think that the New Zealand sides are even better and put more players and work into the breakdown and it is usually something we pride ourselves on, then we know we have to make a massive step-up.

“Everyone needs to buy in and there is only one way – make sure we are mentally up for the next game,” he said.

Drotske’s Cheetahs traditionally struggle in their opening matches on tour. In 2013 they were hammered by the Chiefs but then bounced back to beat the Highlanders and Drotske wants them to repeat the turnaround against the Reds this week.

“We traditionally struggle against the Reds, and it is normally a very difficult game, but it is important that we become clinical and make that mental shift,” he said.

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