Cheetahs lose to Hurricanes
The Hurricanes bounced back from last weekend's loss to the Bulls with a fine 39-34 victory over the Cheetahs that hurts the South Africans' play-off hopes.
With the scores locked at 12 apiece at half-time and no tries on the board, it looked like the recent trend of high-scoring meetings between the two Super Rugby teams was not going to continue.
However, a far more open second-half made for an entertaining spectacle in Bloemfontein as tries from Beauden Barrett, Julian Savea, TJ Perenara and Victor Vito saw the Hurricanes claim the win.
The bonus-point win lifts them up to eighth in the overall standings but crucially remain fourth in the New Zealand conference. A home game against the out-of-form Chiefs next Friday is incredibly important to the 'Canes' play-off aspirations.
Naka Drotske's Cheetahs could not back up their good form on the road but managed to pick up a losing bonus-point via a late Elgar Watts penalty.
The 'Canes came out with pride on the line after that heavy loss at Loftus and set about taking a 9-0 lead thanks to the boot of fly-half Barrett.
Burton Francis responded though and the teams went in at the break at 12 points apiece in what was a half the 'Canes had the better of. With Robert Ebersohn having been in the sin-bin from minute 15, the Cheetahs would have been very happy with the interval scoreline.
The first try of the match came in the 51st minute, when Barrett scored in the corner, barging over replacement scrum-half Sarel Pretorius close to the right touchline to make it 17-12.
The visitors crossed the line again a minute later. All Blacks winger Savea chased his own kick and gathered to score the Hurricanes' second try of the evening. It was now 22-12.
The Cheetahs though persevered and both loosehead prop Coenie Oosthuizen, with two tries, and inside centre Ebersohn, with one, kept the home side in the free-flowing game.
The 'Canes added two further tries as scrum-half Perenara and number eight Vito scored. Barrett sealed the result with penalties with his accurate kicking sealing a priceless victory.
Try: Oosthuisen 2, Ebersohn
Con: Watts 2
Pen: Francis 4, Watts
Tries: Barrett, Savea, Perenara, Vito
Con: Barrett 2
Pen: Barrett 5
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johan Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Phillip van der Walt, 7 Frans Viljoen, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (capt), 1 Coenie Oosthuisen.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Ligtoring Landman, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Elgar Watts, 22 Ryno Benjamin.
Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Reynold Lee-Lo, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito (c), 7 Jack Lam/Karl Lowe, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements:16 Reggie Goodes 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen 18 James Broadhurst 19 Brad Shields 20 Chris Smylie 21 Tusi Pisi 22 James Marshall.
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant Referees: Lourens van der Merwe and Francois de Bruin
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee