Planet Rugby

Cheetahs claw past Force

05th May 2012 17:08

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cheetahs v force

Cheetahs: Held off the Force

The Cheetahs scraped past the Western Force 17-13 in an error-strewn Super Rugby encounter in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

It wasn't pretty, in fact it was down right horrid.

But in the end the Cheetahs got the job done as the hosts bounced back from last week's heartbreaking loss to the Highlanders with a victory... even if it was unconvincing.

The Force were forced to make 90 tackles in the match - more than double the Cheetahs, who failed to make the majority of their possession and territory count in the 80 minutes that sometimes felt like 800 minutes.

The game was dominated by handling errors and frustrating phase play, while discipline also let the Force down as they conceded a string of penalties.

The result lifted the Cheetahs to 26 log points and moved them into 10th position, while the Force's woes continued after picking up only two wins in 10 outings.

The absence of injured fly-half Johan Goosen was noticable as his replacement, Sias Ebersohn, struggled to get the hosts on the front foot.

It was Ebersohn's opposite number David Harvey who managed to put the first points on the board thanks to an eighth-minute penalty.

Harvey and Ebersohn then engaged in some aerial ping-pong before the latter made a confident break and slotted the penalty from the resulting infringement at the breakdown by the visitors.

The tourists were organised on defence and seemed satisfied to be conceding penalties rather than tries, with Ebersohn slotting his second after the Force again snatched possession on the ground.

While they did not see as much of the ball in the first 40 minutes, the Force bagged three more points when Harvey slotted a penalty in the dying stages of the first half.

Scrum-half Tewis de Bruyn followed suit whilst Ebersohn received attention to give the Cheetahs a 9-6 lead at the break.

However, the Force got out of the second-half starting blocks first when centre Winston Stanley scored a converted try after charging down Cheetahs full-back Hennie Daniller's clearing kick.

The Cheetahs hit back through captain Adriaan Strauss when the in-form hooker scored in the corner a few minutes later. Ebersohn missed with the conversion, leaving his side one-point ahead.

Ebersohn did manage to find his target with a crucial penalty with a little more than half an hour left on the clock to give his team some breathing space, and could have put the result beyond doubt with five minutes remaining... but missed again.

The scorers:

For Cheetahs:
Try: Strauss
Pens: S Ebersohn 3, De Bruyn

For Force:
Try: Stanley
Con: Harvey
Pens: Harvey 2

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Cameron Jacobs, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Justin Downey, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 George Earle, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Andries Ferreira, 19 Ashley Johnson, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Riaan Smit, 22 Philip Snyman.

Western Force: 15 Alfie Mafi, 14 Samu Wara, 13 Nick Cummins, 12 Winston Stanley, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 David Harvey, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Matt Hodgson, 7 David Pocock (c), 6 Richard Brown, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Salesi Manu, 18 Phoenix Battye, 19 Lachlan McCaffrey, 20 Josh Holmes, 21 Ben Seymour, 22 Rory Sidey.

Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)

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