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Chiefs beat the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein

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The Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs face a tough challenge this weekend as they need to put the threat of being cut from Super Rugby behind them so they can focus on trying to beat a team they have never been able to.

This is not a fixture that the Cheetahs enjoy, losing their past nine matches going back to 1997, while the Chiefs have not lost back to back games in South Africa since 2008.

Sam Cane returns to the starting line-up and Anton Lienart-Brown celebrates his birthday today.

Neil Marais starts ahead of Fred Zeilinga for the Cheetahs.

The teams are out on the field. The weather is warm and dry, so expect a game of running rugby and lots of tries.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

Beep! Jaco van Heerden blows the whistle and we are underway in the Free State for the first game of the South African leg of the weekend.

1.00: Clayton Blommetjies kicks deep and Aaron Cruden collects and clears.

2.00: The Chiefs are penalised for holding at the ruck and Blommetjies kicks to the corner.

3.00: Kane Hames is penalised for offside. The chiefs defence was tested but the Cheetahs went sideways and the visitors looked comfortable. Niel Marais will kick from in front.

4.00: PENALTY! Marais puts the Cheetahs ahead, 3-0.

6.00: The Cheetahs break from their 22 after Marais puts a little grubber, which Sergeal Petersen collected and ran 50 metres down field. The wing offloaded to Oupa Mahoje who was tackled high by Damian McKenzie. They kick to the corner and win another penalty: repeat.

8.00: James Lowe intercepts and runs from his try line to the halfway line. The game is loose and the hosts win another penalty for holding at the ruck. Both teams got away with one there.

9.00: The Cheetahs kick deep and will set up a driving maul from the lineout. Atu Moli is penalised for a side entry. Sam Cane gets a talking to from Jaco van Heerden about discipline. Next infringement is yellow.

11.00: TRY Raymond Rhule! The Cheetahs attack and after several phases Rhule gets over the line and the home team race into a 10-point lead after Marais adds the conversion.

12.00: Conversion, Marais.

14.00: The Chiefs lose the ball in the maul and the Cheetahs have a scrum near their 10.

15.00: The scrum is reset. The visitors have a 15kg advantage in the pack, weighing in at 345kg to the Cheetahs’ 330kg.

16.00: Marais puts in a wonderful clearance kick which McKenzie fumbles into touch. Lineout 10 metres out.

17.00: TRY Torsten van Jaarsveld! The hooker crashes over from a powerful driving maul.

18.00: Marais adds the extras. 

20.00: The Cheetahs are all over the Chiefs and have raced into a three-score lead. Wow, good game.

21.00: TRY Francois Venter! The skipper crashes over for the Cheetahs third try. Stunning handling from the South Africans. Blommetjies took the ball at first receiver, beat to tackles and offloaded a pass to the captain.

22.00: Marais slots the conversion.

23.00: James Lowe almost goes over but Mahoje gets a hand in the way.

25.00: Lowe puts in a quality kick that goes out near the Cheetahs line. Cheetahs with a defensive lineout from their 5.

26.00: The Cheetahs have a scrum on their 10 after a forward transfer by Lowe to Moli. The Cheetahs must not kick the ball to the Chiefs’ back three or they will be in trouble.

27.00: The Free kick is taken quickly and then Nico Lee knocks the ball into touch. Penalty Chiefs.

28.00: Mohoje is down after a big hit on Michael Leitch, the flanker got his head in the wrong spot as it made contact with the No 8’s hip. The Chiefs have a lineout and the ref tells Mohoje he must leave the field for an HIA. Niell Jordaan comes on.

29.00: TRY Toni Pulu! The wing evades Rhule’s challenge and scores in the corner. It all came from the maul after the lineout, close to the goal line.

30.00: Conversion is good from Cruden. Great kick from the sideline.

32.00: Lineout to the Chiefs after the home team initially, won a turnover, but Blommetjies’ pass misses four players and goes into touch.

33.00: Penalty to the home side after the ref pings the visitors for not releasing. The ball is kicked to touch.

36.00: A kicking duel ensues and the Cheetahs almost go over but the ball is intercepted. The Chiefs attack from their 22. Wasted opportunity by the home side.

38.00: BIG HIT! Rhule smokes Sam McNicol and the centre loses the ball forward. Ouch!

39.00: Sam Cane wins a penalty at the breakdown and the Chiefs will set up a lineout, eight metres from the Cheetahs’ goal line.

40.00: TRY Toni Pulu! The winger dives over for his second of the half.

41.00: Cruden adds the conversion on the hooter.

The half time score is Cheetahs 24 Chiefs 14 

The stats are all pretty equal at the break; metres gained, tackles made/lost and territory and possession. But the cheetahs are notorious for blowing big leads, especially, against Kiwi opposition.

They allowed two soft tries from Pulu late in the half, losing their hard earned 24-point lead. Worrying.

Franco Smith hopes his team keeps working hard. He wants his team to be patient and keep the ball.

BEEP! We are back underway in the City of Roses.

42.00: The Cheetahs lose their first lineout and are under pressure. Somehow they turn the ball over and win a penalty, for hands in the ruck by the visitors.

44.00: A scuffle breaks out after the Cheetahs are awarded a penalty for cynical play. Paul Schoeman bounced Pulu in the contact prior to the penalty. Blommetjies kicks to the corner and the hosts will set up a driving maul.

45.00: Yellow Card Kane Hames! The Chiefs prop collapsed the maul and the Cheetahs attack again.

46.00: The Chiefs win the ball and Michael Leitch goes off for Siegfried Fisi’ihoi.

48.00: Penalty to the hosts for not rolling away. The Chiefs are not committing men to the breakdown and when they did, they were penalised. Their D is holding strong as the Cheetahs could not find a way through despite all the possession. Marais calls for the tee.

50.00: PENALTY! Marais makes no mistake from in front.

51.00: Charles Marais comes on for Retshegofaditswe Nche and immediately gives away a similar penalty to the earlier Chiefs’ infringement. Cruden calls for the tee.

52.00: PENALTY! Cruden cuts the deficit to 10 points.

54.00: TRY Tawera Kerr-Barlow! The scrumhalf finishes a great move, started by McKenzie and after Sam McNicol was tackled, he popped up to Kerr-Barlow, who races away to score.

55.00: Cruden misses a simple conversion. The Chiefs made up five points while down a man.

59.00: TRY James Lowe! The Chiefs send the ball through several hands and the wing scores after stepping a defender.

61.00: Cruden lands the touchline conversion. And just like that, the Chiefs have the lead after being behind for three-quarters and three tries.

65.00: The Chiefs lose the ball with a forward pass but the Cheetahs knock it on. Scrum to the hosts.

67.00: The Cheetahs miss the touch-finder and the Chiefs clear. The substitutes are flowing onto the field and the Cheetahs have stalled since the break.

69.00: McKenzie is called for a forward pass and the Cheetahs have a scrum near halfway.

72.00: The Cheetahs go close but lose the ball, however, they win a penalty. Fred Zeilinga is on and will attempt to put his side back in the lead.

73.00: It’s wide! Zeilinga, who is kicking at 90 percent, the highest in the tournament, pushes his kick past the left-hand post.

74.00: TRY Shaun Stevenson! The replacement gathers a kick after Francois Venter is wrong-footed by the bounce.

75.00: Conversion is good from Cruden.

77.00: TRY Hika Elliot! Zeilinga’s long pass inside his in-goal area is lost by debutant Junior Pokomela in the tackle and the hooker dives on the ball to score. Game over!

78.00: Cruden misses from wide.

80.00: The siren sounds and the Chiefs win with a bonus-point and continue their 20 years unbeaten run against the Free State side.

Full Time.

Live In-Play Betting.

Final score: Cheetahs 27 (24) Chiefs 41 (14)

Scorers

Cheetahs
Tries – Rhule, Van Jaarsveld, F. Venter
Pen – N. Marais (2)
Con – N. Marais (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Chiefs
Tries – Pulu (2), Kerr-Barlow, Lowe, Stevenson, Elliot
Pen – Cruden
Con – Cruden (4)
Drop –
Cards – Hames (Yellow, 45th minute)

Match Officials
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Ref 1: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 2: Lourens van der Merwe
TMO: Johan Greeff

Teams

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 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.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Sam McNicol, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Taleni Seu, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 1 Kane Hames.

Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 18 Sosefo Kautai, 19 Dominic Bird, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Alex Nankivell, 23 Shaun Stevenson.

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