Drotske warns of Canes danger
Toyota Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has warned his team not to read anything into the Hurricanes' 48-14 loss to the Vodacom Bulls last weekend and expects a much better performance from the New Zealanders on Friday night.
The Cheetahs will be hoping for another home victory to keep their hopes up of making the Vodacom Super Rugby playoffs this season, and are still aiming to win the South African conference.
But Drotske believes the game slipped away from the Canes with the two intercept tries they gave away in the first half and he doesn’t expect the them to make the same mistake again.
Despite the philosophies being similar, Drotske wants to use what he believes is a superior scrum and defensive system to his advantage to win the game.
“They are also an expansive team, they like to play the ball wide and have an exciting backline. If you watch the video of last week’s game, those two intercept tries in the first half took the game away from them. I’m not sure they’ll play like that in their own half.
“They are quite a dangerous team, they can score from anywhere and they can make magic from anywhere. It’s quite important that our defensive lines from kicking must be high intensity. We’ve worked hard on that.
“We must also focus on our attack. The previous games were high scoring games but I do think our defence has improved quite a lot in the last few years”
Drotske added that the Bulls got ahead and forced a different game to the way the Hurricanes wanted to play. While he was hoping his team could do the same on Friday, he expected it to be a much closer game.
“We don’t believe you can read too much into the result against the Bulls. If it wasn’t for those intercept tries, it would have been 20-14 before halftime, and a team plays very differently in that sort of position. The Bulls would also have played very differently because the game would not have been won by then. That’s why I’m not reading much into the scoreline.
“They are a dangerous team and they can easily be 10 or 14 points up with two tries that their backline players can score. We’re not looking at last week’s scoreline, we know that against any New Zealand team you have to be 100% switched on.”
With so much riding on the result and the local derbies that follow, Drotske explained that the break came at exactly the right time last week but now that the Cheetahs were back at the coalface, they needed to up their game to ensure they don’t let all the hard work that brought success in their first 10 games go to waste.
“We don’t have the luxury of a rotation policy in the team because we don’t have as much depth as the bigger teams. So the players who have played for 10 games were the same players, and I could sense against the Kings we were tired. Intensity-wise everyone knows the next four games before our next break are crucial for us and we want to win the SA conference.
“Three of those games are in Bloem and one is in PE. It is in our own hands, we have to win our home games, and we have three out of four. That will be our approach.”
And it all starts with beating the Canes, who will be a lot tougher than they were at Loftus Versfeld.