Cheetahs wing Bjorn Basson scored two tries to help his team to a convincing 29-14 Super 14 victory over the Western Force at Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
It was the Cheetahs second successive win of the tournament - the first time since 2006 they've achieved such a feat - and their first-ever victory over the Force thanks to a comfortable bonus point win.
The hosts led the match throughout but after leading 26-7 at half-time, could only add one penalty in the second half.
The dry conditions in the Free State capital favoured the home team's expansive game plan, while the Force struggled on attack and defence in the early stages.
This saw the Cheetahs steal early momentum, but it was the Force's errors that allowed them to surge into a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Scrum-half Sarel Pretorius was influential in both touchdowns as he capitalised on a Force knock-on to put fly-half Naas Olivier through and got the better of opposite number Justin Turner at a 5m defensive scrum for the second. Olivier added the extras.
The Force finally got the ball in hand and after some good work over several phases, the ball landed with Ryan Cross and he cruised through for a try. James O'Connor converted to bring the Force back into the contest, but two late first-half tries to Bjorn Basson put an end to that.
First, Olivier's up-and-under saw Basson out-jump wing Nick Cummins for an easy run in. The Force then committed too many numbers up field on attack and full-back Hennie Daniller's hack through saw Basson beat hooker Nathan Charles in the race for the Cheetah's fourth try.
The Cheetahs' lead was then out to 29-7 early in the second half when Olivier kicked a penalty, which is when Force coach John Mitchell looked to his reserves bench.
The Force got a consolation try late in the piece for the only five-pointer of the second half as flankers Matt Hodgson and David Pocock combined to get the ball down. The try was awarded to Pocock and O'Connor converted from a tight angle.
Tries: Olivier, Pretorius, Basson 2
Cons: Olivier 3
For Western Force:
Tries: Cross, Pocock
Cons: O'Connor 2
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Corne Uys, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Phillip van der Walt, 7 Juan Smith (c), 6 Hendro Scholtz, 5 Barend Pieterse, 4 Izak van der Westhuizen, 3 WP Nel, 2 Skipper Badenhorst, 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Marnus Hugo, 21 Riaan Viljoen, 22 Robert Ebersohn.
Western Force: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Ryan Cross, 11 Cameron Shepherd, 10 David Hill, 9 Justin Turner, 8 Richard Brown, 7 David Pocock, 6 Matt Hodgson, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Tom Hockings, 3 Tim Fairbrother, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Nick Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Sam Wykes, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Chris O'Young, 21 Sam Harris, 22 Mark Bartholomeusz.