Cheetahs show last-minute mettle

2013-04-07 10:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bloemfontein side snatch victory from disbelieving Stormers.

In their respective wins and draws, the Sharks and the Southern Kings set a benchmark for gritty displays when backs are against the wall.

What should have been a spicy encounter between an ascendant Cheetahs and a dissipating Stormers team promised little and delivered it.

Then again, South African derbies seem set on remaining cautious affairs.

The Cheetahs are now a team not to be taken lightly, even though the Bulls have never lost to them and this year’s Stormers will not make the Sharks lose any sleep.

It should not have gone down to the last kick, as the Cheetahs should have wrapped up the match much earlier and their winning streak now moves to five, their best ever start to a Super Rugby campaign.

It was their first win over the Stormers since 2007.

The Stormers have plenty of head scratching to do.

It was a pretty disjointed effort from both sides, but the Stormers were the more frayed outfit.

The pressure of an irregular start to the season was evident in their approach.

No one seemed to want to take responsibility and it seemed like a throwback to the Kobus van der Merwe days of brainless and directionless rugby, at least for the first 10 minutes.

What they did right was to kick into space well and dominate the line-out.

Other than those facets, everything else had a Cheetah paw print on it.

Aside from two ruck infringements, one of which opened the scoring in the ninth minute through Joe Pietersen’s boot, they behaved far more aggressively than their slender builds should allow.

Jaco Taute’s casual approach to a ball rolling away from him exemplified the farcically relaxed mentality.

Piet van Zyl’s harassing style paid off with Robert Ebersohn crashing over in the far-left corner.

It was a measly return for 20 minutes of dominance.

From that moment on, until the 32nd minute when Juan de Jongh finished off a rare, but sparkling, session of play, the rugby was sterile, to say the least.

Both defences hardly let each other through half gaps and the back lines were content to play oval-ball tennis.

It took a moment of magic from the irrepressible Gio Aplon to ignite the game.

His two chips over the Cheetahs’ defence provided further proof of his ability to turn rocks into bread.

It led to De Jongh’s second try.

The Cheetahs coaching staff were not pleased, with Stuart Berry’s blind eye to a Stormers kick that came off a Stormers player.

What cannot be disputed is that Aplon is the best counterattacker in the country and, from that moment on, the Cheetahs kicked far more judiciously.

What the Stormers did not bank on was the introduction of Sarel Pretorius.

Van Zyl did not have a bad game, but did not put the requisite pressure on Nic Groom. His charge down and gather, bookended by a bracketed sprint to the try line, was the highlight of his seven-minute cameo, before he limped off.

The substitution was a game changer, as the Cheetahs had quick service for their very efficient back line.

In his second start, Burton Francis was again his unflustered self.

As they have done all season, the Cheetahs did not step back from the fierce front row encounters, even though Andries Bekker did not have to work hard to decode their line-outs.

Francis’ sharpshooting at least reminded fans that there is life after Johan Goosen.

The kickathons continued through the last quarter, and Francis kept his nerve at the end, sending the Cheetahs faithful into delirium.


Cheetahs – Tries: Robert Ebersohn, Sarel Pretorius

Conversions: Burton Francis (2)

Penalties: Francis (3)

Drop goal: Francis

Stormers – Tries: Juan de Jongh (2)

Conversions: Joe Pietersen

Penalties: Pietersen (4)

Other Super Rugby results

Yesterday: Force 23; Rebels 30

Hurricanes 41; Waratahs 29

Friday: Sharks 21; Crusaders 17

Brumbies 28; Southern Kings 28

Blues 29; Highlanders 18

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


6 myths about male cancer

It is important to be aware of the most prevalent cancer diseases amongst men in our country.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.