Bloemfontein – Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss had few words after another performance where his side let a good lead slip through their fingers and went down 52-31 to the Crusaders in a Super Rugby demolition in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
It all was just too similar to the Chiefs game last week, where the Cheetahs also failed to close the game in the second half.
“We were in it at times, but our performance was nowhere near good enough,” Strauss said after the game at the Free State Stadium.
“Our own discipline and our structures where left wanting. Going into a line-out without having a call, kicking plays that we don't use optimally.
“That put us under immense pressure and then we scrambled. And then you are in your own half against the Crusaders and they will always capitalise on that. We need to make a step up in our discipline and our own structures.”
Strauss added that his outfit would have to return to the drawing-board, where plenty of work lay ahead for the Free Staters, who now sit fourth in the South African conference after eight games, three points ahead of the bottom-placed Stormers.
“We take it week-by-week. We want to play good rugby and if we can, the results will follow,” Strauss said.
“At the moment we aren't where we want to be. We need to have a look at ourselves and work hard.
“We are still positive and there is no need to panic. We will be back next weekend against the Sharks.”
The Crusaders, meanwhile, have leapt five places on Super Rugby's overall log to seventh, with the bonus point victory proving the New Zealanders' title credential as they look to challenge for a spot in the knockout stages of the competition.
Skipper Kieran Read believes his side can still secure their place among the top teams if they can build on the momentum they've achieved from their overseas tour to South Africa.
“We are still very much in it (contention). I think every team is still in with a shout for a place in the play-offs,” Read said afterwards.
“It's a very tough competition and we have to build on our momentum. Another big test awaits us next weekend against the Chiefs. We have to travel well and recover and take it from there.”
Victories over the Lions and Cheetahs see the Crusaders now return home to travel to Hamilton to face the Chiefs next week in what is sure to be a battle against the leaders in the New Zealand conference.
Another good performance by Read and his men may well book their place in the knockout stages.
“The Cheetahs are a great side and showed how good they were, especially in that ten minutes in the second half. That put us under a lot of pressure, but I'm proud of the way we just stuck at it and came back strong,” Read added.
“Both teams were tiring near the end and it came down to moments of brilliance by a few guys. That's what happens. It's part of the work.
“Certainly we are happy to be on the right side of the result this time around. It was certainly a job well done from our side. We certainly saw what we are capable of if we attack. Now we just have to build on that.” – Sapa