Bloemfontein - Flyhalf Burton Francis kicked a penalty after the hooter to help the Cheetahs to their fifth win in row, as they overcame the Stormers 26-24 in their Super Rugby match at the Free State Stadium on Saturday.
Francis was the hero for the hosts on the day, contributing 16 points and kicking a penalty at the death to give the visitors their second consecutive loss.
Both the Cheetahs and Stormers started out at a frantic pace, but fullback Joe Pietersen
's penalty in the ninth minute calmed things down.VIDEO: Cheetahs v Stormers, highlights
The hosts kept playing an attractive brand of rugby, with winger Willie le Roux and scrumhalf Piet van Zyl giving the Cheetahs good go-forward ball.
The Stormers looked the better team in the lineouts, with veteran Andries Bekker
- playing in his 100th Super Rugby game - a big thorn in the Cheetahs side.
The Cheetahs scored the first try of the match in the 20th minute after good attacking play was rounded off by centre Robert Ebersohn in the corner. Francis converted to give the hosts a four point lead.
The Stormers finally got their first five pointer after centre Juan de Jongh capitalised on a good break by hooker Deon Fourie.
Fourie's try inspired the Stormers to another good stanza of play and they stretched their lead to eight points shortly before half-time when De Jongh scored his second of the evening. Pietersen converted just before the interval.
Francis kicked a penalty five minutes after the break, to bring the hosts within five points. Shortly thereafter replacement scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius
charged down a kick of Nic Groom and ran away to score in the corner and Francis converted.
Pietersen then kicked a brace of penalties for the Stormers to give his side a four-point lead. Francis answered in kind as the visitors' lead was again lessened to just one point.
The last 20 minutes resulted in some aerial ping pong, both the Cheetahs and Stormers kicking away too much possession.
Francis kicked a lengthy drop goal in the 66th minute to have the lead change hands once again, but the Cheetahs' ill discipline meant that Pietersen kicked another penalty five minutes from full time.
It was then left to Francis to kick the winning penalty in the dying seconds to complete a memorable victory.
The loss not only leaves the Stormers languishing at 11th spot on the overall log, but they'll also be without fullback Jaco Taute, likely for the rest of the season. Taute tore his anterior cruciate (ACL) knee ligaments
in the first half after a tackle by Cheetahs wing Willie le Roux.Scorers:Cheetahs:
Tries: Robert Ebersohn, Sarel Pretorius
Conversions: Burton Francis (2)
Penalties: Francis (3)
Drop goal: FrancisStormers:
Tries: Juan de Jongh (2)
Conversion: Joe Pietersen
Penalties: Pietersen (4)Teams:
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johan Sadie, 2 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Phillip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss
(captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane
Substitutes: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen
, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Sarel Pretorius
, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Ryno BenjaminStormers:
15. Jaco Taute, 14. Joe Pietersen
, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Jean de Villiers (captain), 11. Gio Aplon, 10. Elton Jantjies
9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen
, 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Siya Kolisi
, 5. Andries Bekker
, 4. De Kock Steenkamp, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Deon Fourie, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Pat Cilliers, 18. Gerbrandt Grobler, 19. Nizaam Carr, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Gary van Aswegen, 22. Damian de Allende