Cheetahs give Erasmus winning send-off



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The Cheetahs managed to give coach Rassie Erasmus a winning send-off when they beat the Lions 16-10 in a Super 14 game marred by mistakes and poor skills at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The supporters of both the Lions and Cheetahs must be glad the season is over. At least they no longer have to watch the rubbish these two teams have been dishing up in the last few weeks.

The positives from this game is that the season is over and both teams can go back to the drawing board and start planning for the Currie Cup season.

For the Cheetahs it is a winning finish for the coach, with Erasmus now moving on to join the Springboks as a technical advisor.

The negatives are plenty.

The skills levels of both teams were poor, very poor, and far below of what you would expect from teams at this level. Some of it was primary school stuff and not that of professional players.

The option taking was poor, so poor that for most of the match both teams played laterally.

At times it was exciting, but almost inevitably it petered out into nothing more than a knock-on, a tackle into touch or a forward pass.

It was an exciting first half in which there was lots of action and lots of movement, but also some very solid defending and loads of errors.

The errors aside, it was a half in which both teams showed lost of endeavour. The errors also showed why the two teams are near the bottom end of the standings.

The created plenty, but as has been the case all season neither team has been able to finish off the opportunities they created.

The Lions opened the scoring early in the half, after just five minutes, when fly-half and captain Andr’ Pretorius slotted a penalty – which was the result of a series of raids into the Cheetahs’ territory.

The Cheetahs, to their credit, did well to repel those raids – even though some of their tactics were not allowed. The high number of penalties was a result of some of these tactics.

However, as the half progressed the Cheetahs managed to turn a couple of their opportunities into points – with fly-half Willem de Waal slotting two penalties from 50 metres out – in the 35th and 39th minutes – to give his team a 6-3 lead at the break.

The half-time score was probably a true reflection of the first half.

It was close, with not much to choose between the two sides, and it was also exciting. But neither team could turn their opportunities into tries.

The second half produced a bit more reward for all the endeavour, but much of the same in terms of mistakes and poor skills.

The first try of the game came after 62 minutes, when Ashwin Willemse trundled over.

It started with Doppies la Grange sprinting into a gap and off-loading to Ashwin Willemse, who went over. Earl Rose added the conversion and the Lions had a 10-6 lead.

But that lead was very short-lived.

The Lions were made to pay dear for one of their many mistakes when Rose kicked deep and Willem de Waal kicked back. De Waal followed up and the Lions were caught napping. De Waal collected and off-loaded to Eddie Fredericks, who went over for the Cheetahs only try. De Waal added the conversion and the Cheetahs were back in the lead at 13-10.

With just under 10 minutes left Bevin Fortuin slotted a 40m drop-goal to ensure the Lions would require at least a converted try to win.

The final 10 minutes, much like the rest of the half, saw both teams trying to run the ball … with very little reward and some very inefficient play.

The game ended with the Lions throwing a forward pass … a move symptomatic of the entire game.

Man of the match: Do we really have to give an award for this match? Nobody really shone. But because we have to, our award will go to the Lions’ young loosehead prop Heinke van der Merwe. His powerful scrumming was one of the few highlights of a very ordinary match. The Cheetahs’ Wian du Preez also looked good when he replaced veteran Os du Randt, but Van der Merwe is our man.

The scorers:

For the Lions:
Try: Willemse
Con: Pretorius
Pen: Pretorius

For the Cheetahs:
Try: Fredericks
Con: De Waal
Pens: De Waal 2
Drop goal: Fortuin

Lions: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Wylie Human, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 Jaco Pretorius, 10 Andr’ Pretorius (c), 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Jacques Cronj’, 7 Ernst Joubert, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Geo Cronj’, 4 Cobus Grobler, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Bertus Smit, 18 Franco van der Merwe, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Enrico Januarie, 21 Ashwin Willemse, 22 Earl Rose.

Cheetahs: 15 Bevin Fortuin, 14 Eddie Fredericks, 13 Marius Joubert, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Gavin Passens, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Noel Oelschig, 8 Ryno van der Merwe, 7 Juan Smith (c), 6 Duane Vermeulen, 5 Corniel van Zyl, 4 Rory Duncan, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Os du Randt
Replacements: 16 Hans van Dyk, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 CJ van der Linde, 19 Bian Vermaak, 20 Kabamba Floors, 21 Michael Claasens, 22 Alwyn Hollenbach


365 Digital

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