Bloemfontein - The Cheetahs have beaten Zebre 54-39 in their PRO14 clash at Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
In the second ever Pro14 encounter hosted on Southern
Hemisphere territory, it was Zebre who showcased more attacking prowess from
the off as the travelling Italians raced into an 11-0 lead.
But the Cheetahs powered back through successive tries from
Makazole Mapimpi, Luther Obi and William Small-Smith to ignite a blistering
The South African outfit turned on the heat after the break
as Torsten Van Jaarsveld and Mapimpi completed doubles.
Zebre's ill-discipline saw Dave Sisi and George Biagi
sin-binned, as their frustration fuelled the Cheetah's dominance.
It looked like Rory Duncan's side were destined for another
defeat when Biagi crossed for Zebre's first try on South African soil following
efficient support play from the forward pods.
But the Cheetahs responded almost immediately after Mapimpi
stormed down the wing to cross at the other end.
Mapimpi's magic sparked the one-sided game into action, as
Canna failed to make it three penalties from three.
And the hosts capitalised with the extra man, as Small-Smith
ran a perfect infield line with eyes only for the tryline after a perfectly
timed offload from François Venter.
Ernst Stapelberg edged the hosts in front with the
conversion, before Obi plucked Francois Venter's floating pass to run in for
Zebre's third try and complete a memorable first-half resurgence.
The visitors remained in touching distance as Johan Meyer
charged over at the other end to pull a try back with 14 men, as Michael
Bradley’s side trailed by a point at the break.
But the momentum remained with the Cheetahs after the
restart, as Mapimpi latched onto Sergeal Petersen's grubber to grab the
And a fifth ensued after a solid driving maul from the hosts
saw Torsten Van Jaarsveld power through Zebre's rattled defensive line, with
Stapelberg putting daylight between the two sides at 33-18.
But just as they had done in the first half, Zebre refused
to relinquish with a man down and Mattia Bellini stormed over, with Marcelo
Violi slotting his first points of the game at 33-25.
Van Jaarsveld crossed at the other end for the Cheetahs'
sixth, before Faialaga Afamasaga reduced the deficit to six points with a try
with Violi converting.
Tian Meyer broke clear of Zebre's defence to dive over,
before Petersen joined in on the fun with his second and the Cheetahs' eighth.
Giulio Bisegni salvaged a fifth at the death for Zebre, with
Guglielmo Palazzani converting, but it was not enough as the Italian side's
winless run in the new season continues.