Planet Rugby

Blues hold off spirited Cheetahs

22nd March 2014 08:27

Share:

Frank Halai Blues v Cheetahs SR 2014

Blues v Cheetahs: Pure entertainment

The Blues returned to the victory trail in style with a deserved 40-30 win over the Cheetahs in Auckland on Saturday.

As the scoreline suggests, this was an entertaining affair with both sides showing a willingness to run the ball from all areas of the field.

After Simon Hickey and Johan Goosen traded early penalties, Steven Luatua got the opening try in the 16th minute when he barged over from close quarters after Peter Saili was stopped short of the whitewash in the build-up.

Shortly after that, the Cheetahs struck back when Boom Prinsloo scored their first try after the visitors got a drive going at a line-out on the Blues' five-metre line.

Prinsloo's game took a turn for the worse when he was sent to the sin bin for offside play at a ruck close to his try-line.

The Blues upped the ante and after Hickey added another penalty - after the Cheetahs were penalised for a scrum infringement - the hosts made their numerical advantage count when George Moala burrowed his way over the try-line after the groundwork was again done by Saili.

Hickey added the extras and things went from bad to worse for the Cheetahs when they conceded their third try shortly after the restart. This time Tevita Li got his name onto the scoresheet after Willie le Roux fumbled while fielding a clearance kick inside his 22.

Jackson Willison pounced on the Cheetahs' full-back's error and offloaded to Li, who dotted down. With the score at 30-13, and seven minutes left in the half, Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske made some substitutions, taking off Goosen - who sustained an arm injury - and Caylib Oosthuizen, replacing them with Elgar Watts and Trevor Nyakane respectively.

The Cheetahs showed more urgency on attack but a Watts penalty was their only reward as the Blues went into the break holding a 30-16 lead.

With Prinsloo back on the field, the Cheetahs were more competitive and after Hickey missed with a penalty attempt, 10 minutes after the restart, the game came alive in the 60th minute when Cornal Hendricks scored a superb individual try.

From a scrum, midway between the halfway line and the Blues' 22, Hendricks ran on to a skip pass from le Roux and bust through the first line of defence. He then bamboozled Charles Piutau with some deft footwork before crossing the whitewash and with Watts adding the extras the Cheetahs were back in the game, trailing by seven points.

The Blues didn't panic, however, and struck back in the 64th minute when Tony Woodcock scored after spotting a gap at a ruck on the visitors' try-line. This secured the home side's fourth try but the Cheetahs didn't lie down and struck back with another superb five-pointer.

This time Hennie Daniller rounded off a brilliant team effort started inside his half by Johann Sadie. The pacey outside centre glided through a gap in the hosts' defence and passed to Rayno Benjamin, who cut infield before offloading to Daniller who dotted down.

Watts converted and with the score at 37-30 to the home side, the Cheetahs were brimming with confidence and launched several further attacks inside the Blues' half.

The Blues weathered the storm, however, and another penalty from Hickey in the 72nd minute was enough to secure them the match points.

The scorers:

For Blues:
Tries: Luatua, Moala, Li, Woodcock
Cons: Hickey 4
Pens: Hickey 4

For Cheetahs:
Try: Prinsloo, Hendricks, Daniller
Cons: Goosen, Watts 2
Pens: Goosen 2, Watts
Yellow card: Prinsloo (26th minute, offside play)

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 George Moala, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Jerome Kaino, 20 Hayden Triggs, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Ma'a Nonu, 23 Benji Marshall.

Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Hennie Daniller, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Jean Cook, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Lappies Labuschagne, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Howard Mnisi.

Referee: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff BluesLeinster vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411