Cheetahs again lack KO punch



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The Free State Cheetahs for the umpteenth time this season came within a single score of victory, but two bonus points is all they could salvage from their Super 14 match against the Highlanders in Bloemfontein on Friday night.


The Highlanders won 31-28.

The Cheetahs, who led 14-11 at the break seemed in control of proceedings when leading 14-6 minutes before halftime. However, a lapse in concentration just before the break let the visitors in for a try and the Cheetahs also leaked a try shortly after halftime to set the struggling Highlanders free.

The Highlanders scored 25 unanswered points to take their tally up to 31-14 before the Free State franchise struck back towards the end to challenge for victory with the scores at 31-28.

The Highlanders, however, controlled the last scrum well and kept the ball for 12 phases before the final whistle went with the Cheetahs again so close to success that has eluded them on all but one occasion this year.

Flyhalf Mike Delaney was outstanding for the victors and was adjudged Man of the Match.

He distributed well, kicked well and also broke the line almost at will to keep his side going forward.

The Free State side’s line was again broke too often, and in a period of poor discipline they let the visitors take a lead through poor discipline and resultant penalties.

With two Highlanders in the sin bin at the same time for an overlap of eight minutes the Cheetahs failed to capitalise fully, scoring only one try in that period For the Cheetahs, Duane Vermeulen was again outstanding with his captain Juan Smith always prominent.

The have become the first side to have more than 300 points scored against them this season – and average of more than 30 points per match.

It was the Highlanders’ first win of their three-match tour to South Africa and their second of the season.


Cheetahs: Tries – JW Jonker, Duane Vermeulen, Hendro Scholtz, Rory Duncan. Conversions – Conrad Barnard (2), Meyer Bosman (2)

Highlanders: Tries – Aaron Bancroft (2), Adam Thomson Conversions – Mike Delany (2) Penalties – Delany (4).

Sapa –

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