Cheetahs sneak past Blues
Bloemfontein - The Cheetahs have won their second Super Rugby game this year when they beat
the Blues 25-24 in the Free State stadium in Bloemfontein on Friday
As it happened: Cheetahs v Blues
After losing to the Stormers last weekend, the Blues started at a ferocious pace, finding gaps in the Cheetahs defence early on.
For the first ten minutes they dominated the attack and the Cheetahs were forced to fall back on defence as they did against the Sharks in Durban two weeks ago.
The hosts did well to keep the Blues at bay and even managed to progress to their half of the field, where Cheetahs' fly half Joe Petersen missed with an early penalty attempt in a gusting wind.
Blues fly half Ihaia West in turn read the wind pretty well and cleverly placed kicks pinned the Cheetahs back in their half for most of the first half.
The Blues couldn't convert their early dominance into points, but the Cheetahs took points almost every time they came within striking distance.
Springbok winger Cornal Hendricks scored under the uprights in the 20th minute and Petersen converted to reward the Cheetahs patience.
That gave the Blues the proverbial kick and they started to use their driving maul with great effect. From an attacking line-out five meters out Blues flanker Luke Braid dotted down as his pack of forwards burrowed over the Cheetahs goal line. West converted to leave the score at seven apiece with 12 minutes left in the first half.
The Cheetahs regained the lead just before half time as Hendricks scored his second five pointer of the evening. With the advantage in hand, Petersen launched a cross kick that full back Willie le Roux re gathered and gave to Hendricks to round off.
The Blues had the final say in the first half as prop Charlie Faumuina scored down after some sloppy defence by the hosts. West converted, leaving the score 14-12 at the break in favour of the visitors.
The Blues put the Cheetahs under some good pressure early on in the second half, but the Cheetahs made more of their chances and scored their third try of the evening as scrum half Sarel Pretorius ran through six defenders to score. Petersen converted to give the hosts a five point lead.
Blues captain Jerome Kaino drew the scores level with 15 minutes to play and West slotted a difficult conversion in gusting wind to give the visitors a two point lead.
Petersen kicked a useful penalty ten minutes from time to give the hosts back the lead, but it left the Cheetahs with a small buffer of just one point. West did the same soon afterwards to give the Blues a two point lead.
With five minutes left Petersen kicked a penalty for the win, with a late drop attempt by West going astray.
Cheetahs: 25 - Tries: Cornal Hendricks (2), Sarel Pretorius; Conversions: Joe Petersen (2); Penalties: Joe Petersen (2).
Blues: 24 - Tries: Luke Braid, Charlie Faumuina, Jerome Kaino; Conversions: Ihaia West (3); Penalties: Ihaia West. Sapa
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Jean Cook, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Danie Minnie
Substitutes: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 BG Uys, 18 Maks van Dyk, 19 Tienie Burger, 20 Boom Prinsloo, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Willie du Plessis, 23 Johann Sadie
15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Charles Piutau, 12 Hamish Northcott, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Jerome Kaino (captain), 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Luke Braid, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock
Substitutes: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Francis Saili