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Coach Johann Van Graan: Cheetahs Were Stretched Playing 2 Competitions


Cape Town – Munster coach Johann van Graan says the Cheetahs will be a lot stronger in the PRO14 now that the Currie Cup has come to an end.

The Bloemfontein-based franchise have been struggling in their second season of PRO14, picking up just one win so far in the 2018/19 season.

The Free State Cheetahs, meanwhile, finished rock bottom of the 2018 Currie Cup log and had to beat South Western Districts on Tuesday night in a promotion/relegation clash to keep their place in the tournament for next year.

Van Graan, who treated his Irish side to a traditional South African braai when they landed in the country, believes that the Cheetahs will be far more competitive now that their Currie Cup responsibilities are over.

“It was very tough for the Cheetahs at the start of the PRO14 because they had to play in two competitions on certain Saturdays,” the former Springbok assistant coach said.

“That put a lot of pressure on their resources but they’re back to one group and one coaching staff now.

“As we saw last season, they don’t really lose in Bloemfontein. Playing on a Sunday afternoon in Bloemfontein at altitude will be a challenge but it’s one that we’re looking forward to very much.

“The Cheetahs play an exciting brand of rugby and I think they have improved a lot.

“They play very well off their maul. They have real speed out wide … some of the quickest guys in the competition. We’ll have to stop their maul at the source and then make sure we get numbers out wide to defend.”

The sides clash at 16:45 at Toyota Stadium on Sunday.

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