Let me start this week by saying simply that last week’s effort and performance was not good enough and a long way from the standards that we have set for ourselves.
We allowed the Brumbies to dictate the game and, late on, let in two easy tries late through simple issues that the boys will ensure are fixed for this week’s match.
A positive out of last week was the return of club captain Pat McCutcheon. After spending a year to the day on the sidelines, it was great to see Cutch back in action. He gets another opportunity this week after being selected at No.8 and will add a lot to our performance.
With the Cheetahs game on Friday night, it’s a short turnaround and it was important that Sunday and Monday were used as recovery days. We spent a large amount of Monday afternoon looking at our performance. We all took a few hard truths from the review of the game and the boys were eager to get back on the field and prepare for what will be another tough challenge as we host the Bloemfontein side in two days’ time.
The Cheetahs have shown that they are not afraid to throw the ball around and play some wide attacking rugby, and they’re coming off a solid win in New Zealand last week. This game will provide the perfect opportunity for our team to bounce back from last week’s performance and prove to our home fans our commitment to playing the style of rugby that we are capable of.
There have been some changes in the team for this week which will allow Peter Betham and Berrick Barnes to pull on the jersey for the first time this season and Paddy Ryan, John Ulugia, Pat McCutcheon and Lachie Turner to make their first starts.
Friday night’s match is the first of a three-game home stretch for us and will give our fans a chance to see us play against Super teams from each of the three conferences, with the Cheetahs, Blues and Western Force all making the journey to Allianz Stadium this month. The last two are both Sunday afternoon matches, a proven favourite with our fans. This week’s match will also double as Ladies Day and allow all women who enjoy a night out at the rugby to come along and mingle with friends and help raise funds for Ovarian Cancer Australia.
I look forward to leading the boys out on Friday and working hard towards recording our second win of the year.
Bring it on!