The Cheetahs earned their third Super Rugby victory of the season by beating the Southern Kings 34-20 in Bloemfontein.
The Cheetahs victory is their first over South African opposition as both of their previous victories were over the Sunwolves.
A late try by the Southern Kings denied the Cheetahs a bonus point try.
The loss for the Kings is their ninth from 10 matches and they remain last in the standings.
The Cheetahs created a number of scoring chances in the first half but came away with only two tries because much of their play was punctured by mistakes, mainly handling errors.
And despite their superiority upfront, they could only add two more tries in the second stanza while also conceding as many during this stage of the match.
Midway through the first half they might have made an initial breakthrough but Argentinian referee Federico Anselmi spotted a forward to the scorer Raymond Rhule and TV replays confirmed that much.
But moments later Cheetahs flanker Teboho Mohoje stole a line-out ball and after fine work in the build-up play by lock Lood de Jager, Rhule crossed for his side’s opening try in the 23rd minute.
Three minutes later Cheetahs openside flank Uzair Cassiem, who was prominent in the loose, crashed over for the home side’s second try. Flyhalf Fred Zeilinga converted both tries.
The Kings had their moments but they took far too much contact to give their attack moves any momentum and failed to cross the whitewash. Instead, they relied on the trusty boot of their flyhalf Elgar Watts to keep the scoreboard ticking over for them. He was on target with two first-half penalties.
Kings managed to hold their own at the fierce battles at the breakdown and they managed a few clean breaks they couldn’t finish adequately to make their efforts count.
Zeilinga also landed a first-half penalty before the sides changed ends with the Cheetahs leading 17-6.
Attack was very much the order of the day when the teams returned. The opening nine minutes produced a try at either end with Michael van der Spuy (Cheetahs) and JP Du Plessis (Kings) the scorers. Zeilinga and substitute Louis Fouche converted for the Cheetahs and Kings respectively.
A Zeilinga penalty and a converted Sergeal Petersen try pushed the scoreboard out to 34-13 in the Cheetahs’ favour with a bonus point in the offing.
However, Kings rightwing Lukhanyo Am crossed at the corner flag after a protracted effort to score their second try and the Cheetahs’ bonus point disappeared into the Bloemfontein night air as the try count stood at 4-2 with this advance. Fouche’s conversion was successful in the 72nd minute.
At the death, the Cheetahs staged an all-out assault to regain the bonus point but they fell dismally short as the Kings secured a turn-over two minutes after the hooter sounded.
Next week the Cheetahs have a bye while the Southern Kings travel to Durban where they will play the Sharks..
Final Score Cheetahs 34 (17) Southern Kings 20 (6)
Tries – R.Rhule,U.Cassiem, M. van der Spuy. S.Pietersen
Pen – F.Zeilinga 2
Con – F.Zeilinga 3
Cards – P.Schoeman (76th min yellow)
Tries -JP du Plessis, L. Am
Pen – E.Watts 2
Con – E.Watts 2
Referee: Federico Anselmi
Assistant Ref 1:Stuart Berry
Assistant Ref 2:AJ Jacobs
TMO :Johan Greeff
1. Charles Marais , 2. Torsten van Jaarsveld , 3. Maks van Dyk , 4. Lodewyk de Jager (vc) , 5. Francois Uys , 6. Paul Schoeman , 7. Oupa Mohoje , 8. Uzair Cassiem , 9. Shaun Venter , 10. Fred Zeilinga , 11. Raymond Rhule , 12. Michael van der Spuy , 13. Francois Venter (C) , 14. Sergeal Petersen , 15. Clayton Blommetjies
Replacements: 16. Jacques du Toit , 17. Ox Nche , 18. Luan de Bruin , 19. Armand Koster , 20. Carl Wegner , 21. Tian Meyer , 22. Niel Marais , 23. Nico Lee
15. Jurgen Visser , 14. Lukhanyo Am , 13. JP du Plessis , 12. Shane Gates (C) , 11. Luzuko Vulindlu , 10. Elgar Watts , 09. James Hall , 08. Aidon Davis , 07. Thembelani Bholi , 06. JP Jonck , 05. JC Astle , 04. Schalk Oelofse , 03. Tom Botha , 02. Edgar Marutlulle (VC) , 01. Sti Sithole
Replacements : 16. Martin Ferreira , 17. Justin Ackerman , 18. Jacobie Adriaanse , 19. Cornell Hess , 20. Stefan Willemse , 21. Ntando Kebe , 22. Louis Fouche , 23. Leighton Eksteen