Bloemfontein based Super Rugby franchise the Cheetahs are second in the Africa 1 Conference and directly behind the Stormers who they host in this match.
While the Cheetahs are directly behind the Stormers in Africa 1 Conference, in the overall standings there are 11 teams between them.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
1.00: BEEP! BEEP! We are underway in the City of Roses. The Stormers are playing in one of their change strips, which is arguably worse than the Coastal Sharks kit of the late nineties.
2.00: TRY Cheslin Kolbe! Juan de Jongh draws his man near the sideline after taking Dillyn Leyds’ delayed pass, to put Kolbe away for the opening try. It started from SP Marais’ kick return and some quick ball at the ruck: 0-5
3.00: The conversion is good from the touchline by SP Marais: 0-7
6.00: The Cheetahs come back, but Nizaam Carr stops the home team short of the line.
7.00: TRY Daniel Hugo! A solid scrum near the sideline sees the Cheetahs go to crash ball under the posts. Tian Meyer gets quick ball and plays the onrushing lock, who crashes through some defenders to score: 5-7
8.00: The conversion by Neil Marais is good and the scores are level: 7-7
11.00: The Stormers come back, winning a penalty after their first lineout/driving maul was collapsed by Hugo.
12.00: They go again, this time Ox Nche is pinged for an infringement; that’s the third in quick succession, so a yellow card might be on the cards.
13.00: Ramone Samuels’ skew throw gives the Cheetahs some relief. The scrum needs to be reset, again. Referee Jaco van Heerden is starting to lose his patience.
15.00: Neil Marais clears with a big kick, SP Marais tries to keep it in play, but the fullback looks to have injured himself and is down.
17.00: Seabelo Senatla replaces SP Marais. The Sevens star moves to the wing and Leyds moves to fullback.
18.00: PENALTY! JC Janse van Rensburg is penalised for collapsing the scrum, so Neil Marais calls for the tee. The flyhalf slots the kick to give his team the lead: 10-7
19.00: Joseph Dweba comes on for Elandre Huggett, who is off for blood.
20.00: TRY Damian Willemse! The young standoff plays a one-two with Rynhardt Elstadt and runs under the posts to score: 10-12
21.00: The conversion is good from Kolbe: 10-14
24.00: The visitors come again. Leyds is causing havoc with his running lines and awareness of space. The home team manage to stop the Stormers but give away a penalty in the process. It was Neil Marais, in from the side of the ruck.
26.00: YELLOW CARD Neil Marais! Another collapsed driving maul by Elandre Huggett, who is lucky to not be sent to the sin-bin. The Stormers go again, but the Cheetahs are offsides, and Neil Marais is off to the sidelines. That was the flyhalf’s second infringement in quick succession, so the referee had no option but to go to the pocket.
28.00: TRY Cheslin Kolbe gets his second! It was Leyds who put him away, again, with a weighted pass after the Stormers worked the space and overlap: 10-19
29.00: Kolbe converts his score: 10-21
31.00: TRY Seabelo Senatla! The winger almost collects a kick-chase, but soon after, Clayton Blommetjies throws an intercept to the Senatla, who runs in untouched: 10-26
32.00: MISS! Kolbe can’t add the extras: 10-26
35.00: The Stormers keep coming, only a forward pass stops them getting over for another try. There are so many holes in the Cheetahs defence, but that is the story of their season.
37.00: The Cheetahs win some soft penalties. but it puts them inside the opposition’s 22. They need a seven-pointer before the break to stay in this game.
38.00: YELLOW CARD! Rynhardt Elstadt will spend 10 minutes in the sin-bin, just as Neil Marais returns.
39.00: TRY Elandre Huggett! The hooker gets up with the ball after the Cheetahs drive the Stormers over their try line: 15-26
40.00: Marais adds the two points: 17-26
The half-time score was Cheetahs 17 Stormers 21
41.00: BEEP! BEEP! We are back underway in the second-half in Bloemfontein.
44.00: We are checking for a TMO to see if the Stormers carried the ball back into their in-goal area. It’s deemed a knock on by Sergeal Petersen.
47.00: The Cheetahs have some early second-half momentum and eventually, they are awarded another penalty. Francois Venter points at the posts.
48.00: PENALTY! Marais reduces the gap with a simple kick in front of the poles: 20-26
52.00: TRY! Hat-trick for Kolbe! The Stormers pulled the Cheetahs apart there. It started with Pieter-Steph du Toit running straight through the Cheetahs before offloading out the back door to Frans Malherbe, who puts Kolbe away for his treble: 20-31
53.00: Kolbe adds the extras: 20-33
55.00: YELLOW CARD! Pieter-Steph du Toit is sent to the bin.
56.00: TRY Clinton Swart! The centre barges over two defenders and stretches his hand out to dot down near the poles: 25-33
57.00: Marais adds the conversion: 27-33
58.00: It’s end-to-end. First, Tian Meyer breaks into the Stormers’ half, they go wide before the ball is intercepted and kicked down the field. Senatla almost latches onto the bouncing ball, but Marais gathers and clears.
60.00: MISS! Kolbe cannot extend the lead to nine after Armandt Koster is pinged for not rolling away at the ruck. That was a poor kick: 27-33
61.00: TRY Raymond Rhule! Venter made the initial break, running 60 metres before cutting inside a defender, and popping to the winger to score: 32-33
62.00: Marais puts his team in front with the simple conversion: 34-33
63.00: Shaun Treeby is penalised for a high tackle and the Cheetahs clear.
65.00: Du Toit returns to the field after his time on the sideline. Bongi Mbonambi throws skew into the lineout, so the Cheetahs have the scrum.
67.00: The Stormers have lost their last four games away from home, their longest drought since a stretch of seven road losses in 2014. Kolbe’s missed conversion and penalty is proving costly.
70.00: The Stormers win a scrum penalty after the home team collapse the scrum.
73.00: TRY Sikhumbuzo Notshe! Bongi Mbonambi breaks through the driving maul and offloads to Notshe to score in the corner: 34-38
74.00: Kolbe makes no mistake this time from the touchline: 34-40
78.00: Some great work by the Stormers sees them win the battle at the breakdown and clear their lines.
80.00: The hooter sounds and the Stormers might have won it with a late penalty.
81.00: TWO RED CARD! Rynhardt Elstadt is off for an elbow and Henco Venter for a strike to the face.
82.00: The Cheetahs kick the penalty deep and will mount one last offensive, but the ball goes into touch and that is the ball game.
The final score is Cheetahs 34 (17) Stormers 40 (21)
Tries – Hugo, Huggett, Swart, Rhule
Pen – N. Marais (2)
Con – N. Marais (4)
Cards – N. Marais (Yellow, 27th minute), H. Venter (Red, 81st minute)
Tries – Kolbe (3), Willemse, Senatla, Notshe
Con – SP. Marais, Kolbe (4)
Cards – Elstadt (Yellow, 38th minute and Red, 81st minute), Du Toit (Yellow, 55th minute),
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Ref 1: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 2: Stuart Berry
TMO: Willie Vos
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Henco Venter, 5 Daniel Hugo, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Elandre Huggett, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Ruan van Rensburg, 23 William Small-Smith.
15 Sarel Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Frans Malherbe (captain), 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 John Dave Schickerling, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 EW Viljoen, 23 Seabelo Senatla