Sat, 29 Feb 2020

Pressure is on Cheetahs, admits skipper Meyer

News24
22 Jan 2020, 22:14 GMT+10

Cape Town - Cheetahs captain Tian Meyer believes the pressure is on his side ahead of this weekend's PRO14 derby against the Southern Kings.

The Cheetahs' last outing in PRO14 was a poor one by their own standards, as they slumped to a 41-13 defeat at the hands of Italian side Zebre, something that sent shockwaves through the side in their hope to make the playoff rounds of this year in the Championship.

Combined with the renewed confidence the Kings took out of their win over the Stormers last Friday night in Knysna, and a fixture that has traditionally been close in Port Elizabeth, the Bloemfontein side need to up their own play if they are to keep their aspirations on track.

Meyer believes the side was "terrible" in the Zebre game and will need to take a massive step up this weekend.

"It doesn't matter if you performed well or badly in the previous game, each week will be a challenge," he said.

"You can't rest on your laurels and take any game for granted. We were terrible in the last game and we were very hard on ourselves. We trained hard the last two weeks and mentally we are trying to take a step up to put out a better performance than last time."

Meyer said the team had an "honest talk" and that only they could answer the lingering doubts the Zebre defeat brought to the surface.

"We were very hard on each other. There were a lot of stones thrown from outside on the performance but we took it very personally," he said.

"It never looked like us on the field. We needed to stand up as brothers in the team and answer if we were up to our own standards in the game and the frank answer is that we didn't. We will stand up and in the next games we want to rectify it.

"It is a derby game and whatever happened against Zebre, we would have approached this game in the same way. Our previous games in the PRO14 have been close and we expect the same on Saturday.

"I feel the pressure will be on us, and we can just do the best that we can. If we can play the game we want to play, it will go well."

While being back on the harder, faster fields in South Africa will aid their game, Meyer underlined the fact that individual brilliance can't be their only asset. Somewhere the hard work will need to be done in order to break down the Kings' defensive structures.

"It is definitely a balance that is needed. It can't just be individual brilliance or waiting for someone to spark it," he said.

"That is why there are players out there that are doing the hard graft and sometimes you need to do the things to put someone else into space. You need to work hard for those little moments.

"I find not just Super Rugby, but in the PRO14 there are those small moments that make the changes in the game. It is flair that changes it but it doesn't just come by itself. It comes after phases and later in the game. You have to be sharp and get the balance right."

The Cheetahs will name their side on Friday.

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