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The secret to the Cheetahs’ success

May 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Cheetahs’ 2013 Super Rugby campaign has been their most successful to date and it all comes down to one factor – their defence. This year the Cheetahs have managed to add a defensive element to their game that was missing in previous years and have played a much more balanced game.

However, it’s not as if they’ve tried to copy the Stormers uber-defensive strategy, they’ve not. In fact, they are still fairly poor tacklers but the difference is that they are putting in so many tackles and cover tackles that, in the bigger scheme of things, the slipped tackles don’t really matter.

Unlike the Stormers’ passive defensive structure the Cheetahs have been very aggressive on defence and rather than waiting for the opposition to run at them they have tackled them behind the advantage line, not giving them the opportunity and space to attack. And not only did that prevent opposition attacks, it gave the Cheetahs front foot ball when they effected turnovers allowing them to counter attack.

Against Attempted Made Made % Ineffective Ineffective % Missed Missed %
Sharks 142 113 80% 11 7.75% 18 12.68%
Chiefs 143 97 68% 13 9.09% 33 23.08%
Highlanders 273 220 81% 12 4.40% 41 15.02%
Force 213 175 82% 13 6.10% 25 11.74%
Force 193 155 80% 14 7.25% 24 12.44%
Rebels 124 108 87% 6 4.84% 10 8.06%
Stormers 158 131 83% 6 3.80% 21 13.29%
Bulls 159 124 78% 7 4.40% 28 17.61%
Sharks 174 146 84% 10 5.75% 18 10.34%
Kings 188 165 88% 5 2.66% 18 9.57%
Hurricanes 139 103 74% 16 11.51% 20 14.39%
Reds 228 178 78% 18 7.89% 32 14.04%
Kings 176 138 78% 13 7.39% 25 14.20%
2310 1853 80.22% 144 6.23% 313 13.55%
177.69 142.54 80.22% 11.08 6.23% 24.08 13.55%


Looking at their tackle stats it is clear, for the most part, that they lost games (marked in bold) where they were more passive on defence, especially at the start of the season, and their last loss against the Hurricanes clearly shows a drop in intensity in their defence.

Where the Stormers have been unable to effectively add an attack dimension to their passive defensive system, the Cheetahs have been able to reinvent their game by adding a good defensive strategy without blunting their attack too much. While it’s not a perfect defence, having conceded 25 tries (9 more than the Stormers), they have improved dramatically over last year when then they had let in 36 tries at the same stage of the competition.

The Cheetahs have a good chance of beating the Bulls this weekend if they don’t revert to a passive defence like they did the previous time they played the Bulls.

6 responses to The secret to the Cheetahs’ success

  1. or lack of injuries?

    • True. Consistency in selection will always help a team, but only up to a point. The Cheetahs have gone past that point, I believe, but as soon as they become more passive in defence as they did against the Bulls yesterday, they run the risk of their opponents dictating the game

  2. Jip the Cheetahs have always been able to attack with the best but always just let in to many tries.
    The Cheetahs have always been a good side but they also normally have their share of injuries and this season they have been pretty lucky only loosing Goosen. The rest of their injuries have all been short term in positions they could afford. Makes a huge difference.

  3. powa said on May 31, 2013


  4. Phil said on May 31, 2013

    The only thing better than a Red Bull, is a dead bull.

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