Super Rugby

First-half onslaught sees Cheetahs cruise past Pumas in Bloemfontein

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Malcolm Jaer (left) and Rosko Specman (Gallo).
Malcolm Jaer (left) and Rosko Specman (Gallo).

The Cheetahs were rampant in their opening game of Super Rugby Unlocked, hammering the Pumas 53-31 in Bloemfontein on Saturday. 

The hosts entered the contest naturally more fancied than their opposition, but nobody would have expected them to run in five tries in the opening 30 minutes to effectively end the fixture as a contest before half time. 

The Cheetahs would go on to score a total of eight tries on the day having taken a 41-3 lead into the break and they were dominant in most aspects. 

Their backs, in particular, were impressive and seemed to have acres of space every time they got the ball moving. 

Too their credit, the Pumas were much improved in the second half, but the damage was already done. 

Malcolm Jaer scored after just one minute of action - he would go on to claim a hat-trick on the afternoon - while his wing partner and Sevens legend Rosko Specman danced his way to two tries himself. 

Specman looked set to score his hat-trick try after the half-time hooter having gone over once more, but instead of completing the try he launched the ball to his right where Ruan Pienaar was waiting to gather and dot down under the posts. 

By then, it had already become a training exercise for the hosts. 

Specman did not return for the second half after picking up a slight hamstring strain, but the men in orange picked up where they left off as replacement William Small-Smith went over shortly after the restart. 

Pumas scrumhalf Ginter Smuts did pounce on a loose ball to give his side a much-needed try and a sudden injection of points, but the difference in quality between the sides in the first half meant that we were never likely to see a Pumas rally back into the game even after the Cheetahs emptied their bench. 

The visitors did, however, go on to score a further three tries in the final quarter of the match. 

Frans Steyn, on debut for the Cheetahs, was also impressive with his distribution and tacking, while he also set up a try with a deft grubber. 

The Cheetahs, meanwhile, have been told by SA Rugby that they are not going to play in a planned expansion of the PRO 14 to a PRO 16 next year. 

They host the Bulls on Friday October 16 while the Pumas travel to Kimberley to take on Griquas. 

Scorers:

Cheetahs 53 (41)

Tries: Malcolm Jaer (3), Junior Pokomela, Rosko Specman (2), Ruan Pienaar, William Small-Smith

Conversions: Pienaar (5)

Penalty: Pienaar

Pumas 31 (3)

Tries: Ginter Smuts, Daniel Maartens, Le Roux Roets, Neil Maritz.

Conversions: Eddie Fouche (4)

Penalty: Fouche

Teams:

Cheetahs

15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Charles Marais Substitutes: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Aidon Davis, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 William Small-Smith

Pumas

15 Devon Williams, 14 Luther Obi, 13 Wayne van der Bank, 12 Ryan Nell (captain), 11 Neil Maritz, 10 Eddie Fouché, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Kwanda Dimaza, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 1 Morgan Naudé.

Substitutes: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Dewald Maritz, 19 Darrien Landsberg, 20 Jeandré Rudolph, 21 Dian Badenhorst, 22 Niel Marais, 23 Ruwellyn Isbell

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