Super Rugby

Cheetahs canter to victory over Sunwolves




The Cheetahs beat the Sunwolves 7-47 at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo, running in seven tries to one, six of which came inside 41 minutes.

Uzair Cassiem bagged a brace and Niel Marais scored 15 points, including a second-half try, to give the South Africans the comfortable win.

The visitors scored twice inside a minute, either side of half-time to open up a 19-point lead, courtesy of Niel Marais and Niell Jordaan.

Sam Wykes’ well worked second-half try, brought the home team back into the contest and gave them some hope.

The South Africans enjoyed long periods of possession and had a superior territorial advantage, but they only scored their first points at the end of the first quarter.

The Free Stateside kept the Sunwolves scoreless until 48 minutes and piled on the pain in the second they rode out comfortable winners in the Japanese sun.

Tries from skipper Torsten van Jaarsveld, Tian Meyer and Sergeal Petersen completed the rout.

The match was open in the early stages, but the two sides made too many errors as they looked to play wide in the Tokyo sunshine.

It wasn’t until the 18th minute that Cassiem crashed over from close range after Oupa Mohoje’s break, set up the score.

The Cheetahs enjoyed 68 percent possession and 77 percent territory in the first-half, but could not capitalise until late on, when Jordaan’s try – and Niel Marais’ second conversion – opened up a two-goal advantage.

The Sunwolves will have spoken about cutting out handling mistakes and being patient with the ball in hand, however, they conceded straight from the restart.

Petersen started the move with a break and an offload out the back door. The Cheetahs sent the ball through several hands before the Niel Marais’ showed a turn of speed and ran away to score.

The Sunwolves hit back. Fumiaki Tanaka put in a tricky box-kick, Raymond Rhule, under pressure from Takaaki Nakazuru, waited for an age for the ball to come down after the initial bounce.

The home team scored from the scrum. Tanaka used the quick ball at the back of the scrum and passed to the lock forward on the charge.

Wykes spotted the gap and ghosted through Niel Marais and Carl Wegner to score under the posts. Yu Tamura added the easy conversion to give his team a glimmer of hope at 7-19.

That would be all the Sunwolves could conjure, as the Cheetahs put their foot to the floor and sped away.

Cassiem scored his second on 67 minutes, and four minutes later, the flanker was on hand to offload to his skipper to score near the posts. Niel Marais’ conversion made it 7-33.

Franco Smith had been weary of the heat and humidity of Japan. But he need not have worried; it was his team that finished stronger and with plenty to spare.

With less than three minutes remaining, Van Jaarsveld set up Meyer’s try.

It all came from the captain’s break and charge up the field. The backs and forwards combined with some deft handling to send the scrummy away.

That was not the end, as Petersen raced away for a well-deserved try after receiving Clayton Blommetjies’ pass on the sideline. It all came from the first-phase ball and some good hands by the backs.

The final act was left for the departing Francois Uys. The popular utility forward kicked a sublime touchline conversion to put the icing on a wonderful performance by the South Africans.

Final score: Sunwolves 7 (0) Cheetahs 47 (14)


Tries – Wykes
Pen –
Con – Tamura
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Cassiem (2), Jordaan, N. Marais, Van Jaarsveld, Meyer, Petersen
Pen –
Con – N. Marais (5), Uys
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Will Houston
Assistant Ref 1: Shuhei Kubo
Assistant Ref 2: Akihisa Aso
TMO: Minoru Fuji



15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Takaaki Nakazuru, 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Shota Emi, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 6 Malgene Ilaua, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Kotaro Yatabe, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Keita Inagaki.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Hino, 17 Koki Yamamoto, 18 Yasuo Yamaji, 19 Hitoshi Ono, 20 Shokei Kin, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Jumpei Ogura, 23 William Tupou.

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Uzair Cassiem, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain), 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Niell Jordaan, 21 Junior Pokomela, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Fred Zeilinga.

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