Planet Rugby

Cheetahs take Kimberley thriller

17th February 2007 15:58

Share:

wycliff_palu_kabamba_floors_330

Waratahs star Wycliff Palu on the charge

The Cheetahs went to the top of the standings, maybe just temporarily, after beating the Waratahs 30-26 in a thrilling Round Three Super 14 match at ABSA Park, in Kimberley, on Saturday.

The Waratahs overcame a fierce early Cheetahs onslaught - in which the Cheetahs scored three tries inside the first 18 minutes - and the loss of their captain Phil Waugh (to an ankle injury) inside the first five minute, to come back and almost clinch it at the end.

The Super 14 may not have reached the dizzy heights that have become expected of it in the opening two weeks but this game went some way to rectifying that. It had all the thrills and excitement we have come to expect from the Super 14, albeit with a handful of errors thrown into the mix.

However when both sides are intent on playing such positive rugby with width and pace at every available opportunity errors can be forgiven. Even more so when the advantage played results in a more flowing and open game as was the case more often than not here.

In the early exchanges it seemed as if the Cheetahs would run away with the game, literally, as they spread the ball from one side of the pitch to the other, and back again. The Waratahs struggled to live with the pace of the game, as Phillip Burger exposed them wide early on.

It only took the free running Cheetahs three minutes to open their account with a well worked Ronnie Cooke try under the posts. After the TMO had adjudged Juan Smith to have been held up over the line the Cheetahs struck from the resulting scrum. As Herkie Kruger drifted with the ball in hand he flicked a clever pass back on the inside to Ronnie Cooke who crashed in under the posts for the opening score, but not before the TMO was called upon to confirm the grounding.

If the opening three minutes hadn't signaled the Cheetahs intent then their confidence to run the ball from deep from the restart certainly did. Phillip Burger and Kabamba Floors demonstrated their sevens skills combining down the flank to make easy yards. And it was Burger again who showed a superb turn of pace to cross for the second Cheetahs try after only six minutes.

Moving the ball wide from first phase the Cheetahs exposed the Waratahs out wide as Burger cantered in at the corner after a turn of pace had seen off the cover defence. A collision between the last two Waratah defenders may have been a little fortuitous but it was nothing less than the Cheetahs deserved for their adventure.

Peter Hewat momentarily broke the one sided pattern with a simple penalty goal, but the Cheetahs soon found themselves back in control. Their impressive pack laid the foundations down the right flank with some excellent tight play before Eddie Fredericks coasted over. Fredericks found a huge hole through a ruck and had an easy run to the line for the third Cheetahs try. Meyer Bosman added his second conversion and the Cheetahs were cruising.

They had the chance to wrap up a try bonus point on two occasions as Kabamba Floors made two telling breaks only to find himself with no support. With only a quarter of the game gone and the Cheetahs stamping their authority on the game it seemed as if it could be a very one-sided affair. A scrappy ten minutes of play did little too suggest otherwise, that was before young Kurtley Beale conjured up a piece of individual brilliance.

With nothing seemingly on in the middle of the pitch Beale chipped a flat Cheetahs defensive line and re-gathered in style before diving under the posts for a score that will only add to his already growing reputation. Hewat added the extras and all of a sudden the game took on a different complex.

Herkie Kruger chipped over a clever drop goal as half time rapidly approached before the Waratahs struck again with the final move of the half. Having re-gathered the ball from the restart it was the Waratahs who utilised the width this time before swinging play back into midfield. Ben Jacobs hit a fine angle to burst through a yawning gap and score under the posts. Again Hewat added the extras and at half-time the Waratahs had clawed their way back into a game that had almost passed them by.

The second half was not quite of the break neck pace seen in the first but again both sides showed plenty of adventure. Hewat reduced the gap further with his second penalty as the game evened out further and the Waratahs sensed they could take something from this clash.

But it was the Cheetahs captain Juan Smith who ensured his sides would take at least a try bonus point from the game when his outstretched arm dotted the ball down on the line. Eddie Fredericks had laid the platform for the score with an elusive break before the ball was moved wide to Smith to secure the bonus point.

Bosman and Hewat exchanged penalties in quick succession before Hewat nudged his fourth shot at goal to bring the Waratahs within a try. He had a chance to reduce the deficit to just one point with five minutes left but pushed the simplest of chances just wide of the uprights. It was to prove a telling blow as the Waratahs chased the game late on but the Cheetahs just hung on for a thrilling victory.

Man of the Match: All those who graced this game deserve a mention for the manner in which they approached it but we have gone for Phillip Burger. He was a constant threat to the Waratahs defence and showed superb pace to score his try.

The scorers:

For the Cheetahs:

Tries: Cooke, Burger, Fredericks, Smith

Cons: Bosman 2

Pen: Bosman

DG: Kruger

For the Waratahs:

Tries: Beale, Jacobs

Cons: Hewat 2

Pens: Hewat 4

Teams:

Cheetahs: 15 Phillip Burger, 14 Eddie Fredericks, 13 Marius Joubert, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Ronnie Cooke, 10 Herkie Kruger, 9 Falie Oelschig, 8 Darren Nell, 7 Juan Smith Juan (c), 6 Kabamba Floors, 5 Corniel van Zyl, 4 Bian Vermaak, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Wiaan du Preez

Replacements: 16 Richard Strauss, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Henro Scholtz, 19 Ryno van der Merwe, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Gavin Passens, 22 Tiger Mangweni

Waratahs: 15 Sam Norton-Knight, 14 Peter Hewat, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Sam Harris, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Phil Waugh (c), 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Will Caldwell, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Adam Freier, 1 Benn Robinson.

Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Tim Davidson, 19 Ben Hand, 20 Josh Valentine, 21 Daniel Halangahu, 22 Morgan Turinui

Referee: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand)

Touch judges: Vinny Munro (New Zealand), Pro Legoete (South Africa)

Television match official: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

By Marcus Leach

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
International Match
Saturday , November 1
Barbarians vs Australia14:30
USA vs New Zealand20:50
More International Match fixtures
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 1
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Bath vs London Welsh15:00
London Irish vs Leicester15:00
Northampton vs Newcastle16:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs Edinburgh19:35
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs Munster17:15
Scarlets vs Zebre18:00
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gons19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 1
Lyon vs Toulouse14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Oyonnax18:30
La Rochelle vs Montpellier18:30
Brive vs Castres18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Bayonne vs Clermont Auvergne20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615