The pressure of not knowing whether they still have a Super Rugby future was a contributing factor in the Cheetahs’ loss to the Sharks on Saturday.
That was the word from Cheetahs head coach Franco Smith after his side’s 38-30 defeat to the Durban-based outfit in Bloemfontein. There has been speculation that the the Cheetahs, Kings and Melbourne Rebels are the likely casualties in the reduction of Super Rugby.
And Smith admitted that the uncertainty on the franchise’s future has affected his players.
“There’s a lot of pressure and some of it is forced by the question of the franchise‚” Smith told Times Live.
“Some of it is from the outside and that’s something we can’t control and the guys don’t want to disappoint. We made errors we hardly make.
“We played not to lose when we had the lead and that’s a big thing. There’s a lot of pressure on us and there’s a lot of talk about this franchise thing.
“We don’t want to disappoint at home. You want to perform for the crowd and the players were reactive‚” Smith said.
“We merit to stay in this competition and the whole of the central part of South Africa merits this franchise. I think we need to forget about happened in this game and prove that we’re a good team.
“I know outside influences have played a role in how we’ve played. It’s tough but we know we have to deal with it.
“Hopefully a decision will be made soon.”