Cheetahs aim to show doubters otherwise

Cape Town – The Cheetahs go into Saturday’s PRO14quarter-final against Scarlets as definite underdogs, but that is a tag they have become accustomed to over the years.
The Scarlets are, after all, the tournament defending champions and the fact that they are at home on Saturday swings things even more in their favour.
Both sides are expected to throw the ball around and a high-scoring affair is anticipated, but the Cheetahs know that they will have to be at their best if they are to win their first ever play-off match in an international tournament.
According to captain Francois Venter, this match is a golden opportunity for the men from Bloemfontein to upset the odds.
Venter has been a stalwart of Cheetahs rugby since joining in 2014, and along the way he has been a part of numerous teams that were up against it and given no chance of success, particularly in Super Rugby.
“That’s a trademark of Free State rugby … there are a lot of people that don’t route for us and maybe write us off before a season,” Venter told media from Wales this week.
“I think the fight in the players and in the team always looks to prove them wrong.
“I still believe there is a lot of emotion going into this game and a lot of guys knowing it could be their last three games for the Cheetahs.
“As a collective we’ve been playing together for five years now, so everybody knows each other in and out. We know how everybody works.”
With the Cheetahs now fully settled into life in the PRO14, there is the fear that their players will become transfer targets for the European-based clubs.
For now, though, the focus is on going as far as possible in this tournament.
Venter, who sees some similarities between the Cheetahs and Scarlets in terms of game style, believes that victory is possible.
“Definitely. Anything can happen on the day and we’ve been improving every week,” he said.
“There are a few similarities. From turnovers they tend to play a bit more, like we do, and the capitalise off the other team’s mistakes.
“We want to be characterised as being brave and they definitely are.”
Kick-off on Saturday is at 19:35 (SA time).

News Reporter

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