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Highlanders beat Cheetahs in Bloemfontein

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The Cheetahs have another tough assignment this weekend as they are on a six-match losing streak and host the Highlanders who have won their last five matches.

The Highlanders had a shaky start but they are well back in contention and are in the play-off places. Last week they comfortably beat the Stormers which will have made them familiar with South African rugby.

The Cheetahs last beat the New Zealanders in 2013 but only that once since 2010, including the last 10 fixtures.

The teams are leaving the tunnel.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

BEEP! BEEP! Marius van der Westhuizen gets us underway in the City of Roses.

1.00: The Cheetahs look to run the ball from their 22. After several phases of being knocked back, they clear. Lineout to the visitors.

3.00: The Highlanders counter the Cheetahs early pressure with a break of their own. They send the ball through the hands spreading the Cheetahs around the park before Oupa Mohoje wins a loose ball and steps into touch.

5.00: The home team is penalised for tackling the man without the ball. The Kiwis kick to touch inside the Cheetahs’ 5.

6.00: Great steal! Mohoje wins a penalty at the breakdown on the Cheetahs’ goal line. Scrum time.

7.00: TRY Tian Meyer! Henco Venter made a break inside the 22 on the sideline. He is supported by Sergeal Petersen on his outside. The winger sends an inside ball to the scrum-half, who runs away to score.

8.00: The conversion is unsuccessful but the home team have the lead.

10.00: Liam Squire is being seen to by the medical staff and so there is a break in play. The flanker is getting his wrist strapped.

11.00: The field is tearing up, already. The hosts win a penalty and kick deep into Highlanders’ territory.

12.00: The Cheetahs mess up their driving maul and lose the ball to the Highlanders. That was amateurish from the forwards.

14.00: Sergeal Petersen tackles Matt Faddes, gets up and wins the penalty for holding. Superb from the flyer. Fred Zeilinga will kick at goal.

15.00: PENALTY Zeilinga! It’s good from the standoff, the ball sailing through the middle. 

17.00: The Highlanders lose the ball after Aaron Smith’s quick-tap penalty. The Cheetahs will scrum on their 22. They win the free-kick and can clear.

19.00: The Kiwis continue to spread the ball to both sides. Somehow, Aaron Smith loses the ball at the base of a ruck and the move breaks down. Tian Meyer feeds the scrum but the Cheetahs concede a penalty for illegal scrumming.

21.00: PENALTY Marty Banks! The visitors are on the board. 

23.00: The Highlanders turn the ball over but, just as fast, Johan Coetzee wins it back. The cheetahs break through Clayton Blommetjies but the fullback runs out of support. The Kiwis win the ball back and attack from their 22.

24.00: TRY Banks! The flyhalf ghosts through some weak defence. Blommetjies can’t bring him down and he scores under the posts.

25.00: Banks’ conversion is good and the visitors have the lead for the first time tonight.

26.00: The cheetahs come back and Blommetjies makes a break, passes inside to Raymond Rhule but, the winger, steps out. That’s the second line-break that has come to nothing. The Cheetahs need to take the opportunities.

28.00: Another move breaks down. Rhule found a gap and sent the ball to his right. The loose ball is kicked forward by Daniel Lienert-Brown but, the referee awards the home side a scrum for an earlier knock forward. The field is wet with due and the players are having trouble holding on to the ball.

30.00: TRY Peterson? The TMO calls the TMO for a forward pass from Rhule to Blommetjies in the build up. It has to be forward. But, the TMO is looking at a possible obstruction, afterwards. What is going on?

31.00: It’s a penalty to the Highlanders. I don’t know what to say. It should be a scrum to the Highlanders inside their half. Instead, they clear to halfway thanks to that TMO call. Baffling to say the least.

33.00: A kicking duel ensues after Petersen is tackled and loses the ball. The lineout is near the halfway line.

35.00: YELLOW CARD! The Highlanders break up a Cheetahs move but the Assistant referee calls for a late tackle from Matt Faddes. 

36.00: TRY Petersen! He finally gets over after beating his outside man. The Cheetahs spread the ball through the hands before Blommetjies draws his man and puts Petersen away in the corner.

37.00: The conversion is good. The home team have the lead for the second time and just before the break.

39.00: The Highlanders have one last attack and Torsten van Jaarsveld is pinged for playing the ball off his feet. Banks and Smith have a chat and kick to touch. Lineout on the Cheetahs’ 5.

40.00: Tom Franklin is being checked for foul play. The lock appeared to clean out the ruck without the use of his arms. Marius van der Westhuizen says he thinks it is a penalty only. Franklin is lucky. Probably should have been sent to the bin.

BEEP! BEEP! 

Half-time score was Cheetahs 15 Highlanders 10

41.00: Beep! Beep! We are back underway.

42.00: Marius van der Westhuizen is consulting Willie Vos for another foul play from the Highlanders. It’s a clear lift and tip-tackle. Siate Tokolahi is just on and he is in trouble.

42.00: Yellow Card Siate Tokolahi! The big man is in the bin and the penalty is overturned. 

43.00: Liam Coltman is penalised for collapsing the driving maul. The Highlanders are in danger of having another player binned.

44.00: The Cheetahs drive after another lineout and the Highlanders collapse the maul. Then, they’re penalised for offside.

45.00: TRY Torsten van Jaarsveld! The pressure was immense. The Cheetahs shift the maul to the right and drive the ball over the whitewash. Quality set-piece move from the South Africans.

46.00: Zeilinga adds the extras and the Cheetahs extend their half-time lead.

48.00: TRY Rob Thompson! The Highlanders hit back immediately. Faddes picked up a loose pass and sends an inside pass to Thompson, who hits an angle, and speeds through some forwards to score.

49.00: Banks adds the extras from under the posts.

50.00: The changes are coming in the front row. There has not been a scrum since the yellow card.

51.00: TRY Waisake Naholo! The Highlanders break from their half, send the ball through several hands and the winger collects to score. The tackling was poor by Franco Smith’s team. Too easy.

52.00: Banks puts his side back in front.

54.00: That has been a 14-point swing to the tourists, with a man in the bin. The Cheetahs will be having flashbacks of a few weeks ago against the Chiefs.

56.00: TRY Oupa Mohoje! Great try from the Cheetahs. Ox Nche started with a busting run. Quick ball to the blindside and sharp handling by Zeilinga Rhule, sees the flanker go over in the corner.

56.00: Zeilinga kicks a wonderful touchline conversion. This is helter-skelter.

58.00: TRY Tian Meyer! It came from good hands by the big men and passing between the backs. Rhule breaks and chips the defender and the scrumhalf’s chase is good. 

59.00: Zeilinga has missed his conversion but that double strike, cancels out the Highlanders double blow.

61.00: TRY Ox Nche! Wow! Stunning try from the hosts. Uzair Cassiem breaks from his 22 and is supported by Petersen. The winger switches and is played on the inside shoulder after a dummy by Cassiem. The Ox in support finishes. Great try. But what is the prop doing supporting the flyer? Incredible.

62.00: The kick is good.

68.00: The madness has stopped. However, both teams are running everything and from everywhere. The Kiwis might run out of steam with the altitude. But, the Cheetahs have blown bigger leads than this.

71.00: YELLOW CARD Uzair Cassiem! The big man is sent to the bin for a high tackle. The Highlanders will get a scrum inside the 22 on the Cheetahs’ 5. It’s now or never for the Kiwis.

74.00: Rhule makes a big tackle on his line but Blommetjies loses the ball forward. Scrum to the tourists.

75.00: TRY Tevita Li! Wow, the replacement has scored. Banks kicks the quick conversion.

80.00: TRY Nahol0! The Highlanders have done it, they fought back to win a thriller. Game over.

Live In-Play Betting.

Final score: Cheetahs 41 (15) Highlanders 45 (10)

Scorers

Cheetahs
Tries – Meyer (2), Peterson, Van Jaarsveld, Mohoje, Nche
Pen – Zeilinga
Con – Zeilinga (4)
Drop –
Cards – Cassiem (Yellow, 72nd minute)

Highlanders
Tries – Banks, Thompson, Naholo (2), Li, Faddes
Pen – Banks
Con – Banks (6)
Drop –
Cards – Faddes (Yellow, 35th minute), Tokolahi (Yellow, 42nd minute)

Match Officials
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 1: Egon Seconds
Assistant Ref 2: Lourens van der Merwe
TMO: Willie Vos

Teams

Cheetahs

15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.

Replacements: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Armandt Koster, 20 Uzair Cassiem, 21 Niell Jordaan, 22 Shaun Venter, 23 Niel Marais.

Highlanders 

15 Matt Faddes, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock (captain), 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Joe Wheeler, 3 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Elliot Dixon, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Richard Buckman

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