Australian Conference leaders the Brumbies got back to winning ways in Bloemfontein by beating the Cheetahs 18-25 but let a bonus point slip away.
The Brumbies were Super Rugby’s early pace-setters but were beaten last week by the Stormers in Cape Town.
The Canberra side made a quick start to the match and went over the Cheetahs tryline in the second minute only to be denied by the TMO for a forward pass.
The Brumbies were not to be denied again in the third minute as Ita Vaea scored the opening try and it looked like the Cheetahs could be in for a long afternoon.
The Cheetahs regathered and slowed the Brumbies tide but not completely. The Brumbies led 8-15 by half time and with 7 minutes remaining the Brumbies seemingly had the bonus point and the victory in the bag before they allowed the Cheetahs to score their second try which cost the Australian side the try bonus point.
A second-half try from Wallabies prop Ben Alexander took the Brumbies out to a 25-8 lead by the hour before the Cheetahs launched their late rally which delivered 10 points.
Zimbabwe-born Brumbies and Wallabies loose forward David Pocock was the outstanding individual and received the man-of-the-match award.
“It was a tough match against a dangerous team in the Cheetahs,” said the master scavenger in the loose exchanges.
“After the disappointment of losing in Cape Town last weekend, it was good to grind out a victory.”
Captain and hooker Stephen Moore, part of a front row that found the going tough at scrum time against a much less experienced Cheetahs trio, echoed the views of Pocock.
“The Cheetahs are a good team at home and it was great to get our second victory in three consecutive away games.
“We host the Chiefs next and saw what they did today (trounce Western Force 53-10), so we need to get home, recover and prepare for a very tough fixture.”
Cheetahs skipper and centre Francois Venter bemoaned unforced errors as his team slumped to a fourth loss in five matches this season, three of them at home.
“We were guilty of too many missed tackles and knock-ons,” he admitted. “Our attacking mindset did not pay off today.”
No. 8 Ita Vaea, full-back Aidan Toua and Alexander were the Brumbies’ try scorers.
Fly-half Christian Leali’ifano kicked a conversion and two penalties and centre Matt Toomua a conversion.
Flanker Uzair Cassiem and winger Sergeal Petersen scored a try each for the Cheetahs and fly-half Niel Marais slotted one conversion and two penalties from five shots at goal.
Cheetahs prop Ox Nche and Brumbies lock Sam Carter were sin-binned for professional fouls as the first half drew to a close.
The Cheetahs face the Bulls in Pretoria next week while the Brumbies are at home in Canberra against the Chiefs.
Final Score Cheetahs 18 (8) Brumbies 25 (15)
Tries – U. Cassiem, S.Petersen
Pen – N.Marais 2
Con – N.Marais
Cards – O.Nche (33rd minute yellow)
Tries – I.Vaea, A Toua, B.Alexander
Pen – C.Lealiifano 2
Con – C.Lealiifano, M.Toomua
Cards – S.Carter (40th min yellow)
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1:Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Ref 2:AJ Jacobs
TMO : Willie Vos
1. Ox Nche , 2. Torsten van Jaarsveld , 3. Johan Coetzee , 4. Lodewyk de Jager (vc) , 5. Francois Uys , 6. Boom Prinsloo , 7. Uzair Cassiem , 8. Paul Schoeman , 9. Shaun Venter , 10. Niel Marais , 11. Raymond Rhule , 12. Joubert Engelbrecht , 13. Francois Venter (C) , 14. Sergeal Petersen , 15. Clayton Blommetjies
Replacements: , 16. Jacques du Toit , 17. Charles Marais , 18. Maks van Dyk , 19. Carl Wegner , 20. Hilton Lobberts , 21. Henco Venter , 22. Tian Meyer , 23. Fred Zeilinga
Scott Sio, Stephen Moore (c), Ben Alexander, Rory Arnold, Sam Carter, Scott Fardy, David Pocock, Ita Vaea, Tomás Cubelli , Christian Lealiifano (c), Robbie Coleman, Matt Toomua, Tevita Kuridrani, Joe Tomane, Aidan Toua
Replacements : Robbie Abel, Allan Alaalatoa, Ruan Smith, Tom Staniforth, Jordan Smiler, Michael Dowsett, James Dargaville, Nigel Ah Wong