Match Reaction: Toyota Cheetahs have areas to improve, says Venter

Max Chesterton
03 February 2019

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Toyota Cheetahs captain Shaun Venter believes his side must improve defensively if they are to learn from their narrow victory over South African rivals Isuzu Southern Kings.

The scrum-half scored his third try in two matches as the Free State side ran out 40-36 winners despite three tries in the last ten minutes from the visitors to gift them two losing bonus points.

But with a challenging game against Connacht at the Sportsground in the reckoning, Venter says his side must take away valuable lessons from the Kings’ spirited fightback.

“We are happy with the win, but not happy with the defensive effort. We lacked something in the second-half,” said the 31-year-old former Southern Kings star.

“The first-half was a lot of stop and starts, the second-half was better because we were picking up the ball and going through stages.

“The lack of defensive effort is something we are going to work on.

“We are going to have to win the ball a lot more outside, we are going to have to tackle a lot more and we are disappointed in our effort today defensively.

“The last time we played Connacht there the wind was blowing, it was raining all through the game and it was cold.

“We will be prepared, but it’s very different playing over there. I think it’s easier for us to go and play in the cold than for them to play in the heat.”

The Cheetahs grafted to a 19-10 first-half lead thanks to tries from Venter, Tian Schoeman and William Small-Smith.

But after a raft of yellow cards, the Kings came roaring back with Cyril Velleman and Yaw Penxe reducing the deficit.

However, the resurgence was quickly put to bed when full-back Malcolm Jaer splashed over for the bonus point and Junior Pokomela and Reinach Venter added two more.

Kings forced a response late on despite being reduced to 14 men after Velleman was sent off as Tienie Burger, Alandre van Rooyen and Harlon Klaasen rescued two points.

The fightback offered encouraging signs to Kings captain JC Astle, he said: “We threw in the kitchen sink in the end by being behind that far from the start.

“There’s lapses of concentration in our game at the moment, fundamentals letting us down in the first half, but a good finish so we can take the positives out of that. Hopefully we can step up a lot more now.

“The reserves are really making a difference at the moment, they are coming on and picking up the tempo a little bit and helping us guys that are tired.

“We are obviously trying to create a good brand, but also trying to get the wins as well.

“Last week we had a good match, so it’s up and down at the moment, it’s trying to find a consistency to get the wins now.”

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