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Rugby | Pro14

Nico Lee © Gallo Images

Cheetahs complete derby double



The Cheetahs completed a derby double in the GuinnessPRO14 by powering away after halftime to comfortably beat the Southern Kings 45-24 in Bloemfontein on Saturday evening.

The Kings, as they often have been in this competition, were competitive in the first half, and at 24-17 to the Cheetahs, it was still anyone’s game at halftime. However, the Kings have invariably fallen away through making too many mistakes in the third quarter, and this game went according to the predictable script.

The win enabled the Cheetahs to keep up their good home record in the PRO14, with the loss to the Glasgow Warriors last October remaining their only blemish in Bloemfontein. There are a few changes set to happen at the Free State union in the next few weeks, however, with some of their players set to link up with other franchises in preparation for the 2018 edition of Vodacom Super Rugby.

One of the players set to depart is wing Makazole Mapimpi, and the Sharks fans who watched this game will be enthused about the pace their team will have available to them on the wing. Mapimpi showed his pace to win a second half foot race to score the try that finally broke the Kings’ resolve, with the score closely following one from the powerful prop Ox Nche that effectively broke the closeness of the tussle.

Shaun Venter then also dropped in for a try to take the Cheetahs to 45 points and a comfortable lead, thus rendering a late try to Tienie Burger, the Kings flank, as no more than consolation value.

The Kings did show some good touches in the first half, and the break effected by Martin du Toit to set up the try scored by big loosehead prop Schalk Ferreira was top class. Du Toit was shifted from centre to flyhalf for this game and showed the same stepping skills in his new position that he has in his previous games in the midfield.

The Cheetahs were on the board early through a Fred Zeilinga penalty but the Kings were the first to score a try as the Port Elizabeth team capitalised on a period of prolonged pressure by sending centre Luzuko Vulindlu in between the posts from close range, with the conversion making it 7-3 after 10 minutes.

That was the only time the Kings led in the game and it was a lead that lasted all of nine minutes before Nico Lee reached out for the first of his brace of tries. Six minutes later Uzair Cassiem used his leg speed to power over to take the Cheetahs into a 17-7 advantage before the Kings broke back briefly through the Ferreira try.

That was the cue for the Kings to make one of those costly mistakes referred to earlier. Clayton Blommetjies’ hanging restart after the try was spilt by No 8 Ruan Lerm and from a resultant penalty the Cheetahs set up an attacking lineout. The Cheetahs attack had been guilty of being a bit lateral before that but from a recycle on the line scrumhalf Venter chose the right option in sending a short ball to Lee for the centre to score his second try.

A Ntabeni Dukisa penalty shortly before the halftime hooter gave the Kings some hope but once again it was to prove to be false hope for the Eastern Cape team.

The Cheetahs weren't helped by the yellow carding of Craig Barry in the third quarter but by the time it came the hosts already had enough space on their opponents on the scoreboard.

Scores

Cheetahs 45 – Tries: Nico Lee 2, Uzair Cassiem, Ox Nche, Makazole Mapimpi and Shaun Venter; Conversions: Fred Zeilinga 6; Penalty: Zeilinga.

Southern Kings 24 – Tries: Luzuko Vulindlu, Schalk Ferreira and Tienie Burger; Conversions: Ntabeni Dukisa 2 and Bernhard Janse van Rensburg; Penalty: Dukisa



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