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 %|
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.