The Cheetahs ended their three-match PRO14 tour without a win as they slumped to a 30-17 loss to the Cardiff Blues in Cardiff on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The past few weeks have certainly brought some reality down on the Cheetahs after their unbeaten start with three wins out of three at home. They would have been disappointed as the Blues were coming into the game on the back of three successive losses, presenting a prime opportunity for the visitors to break their away duck.
Hawies Fourie’s team was not helped by being reduced by a man as Jasper Wiese was shown a red card for a shoulder charge to the head of a Blues player at a ruck. To say the incident was needless would be an understatement, as it took place in the visitors’ 22 when the ball had already been cleared. At that stage, the Cheetahs were under pressure and 8-0 down after the Cardiff Blues had made a good start through a penalty from flyhalf Jason Tovey and well-worked try from wing Aled Summerhill.
Yet, the Cheetahs did not wilt and got a couple of tries of their own, taking a surprise lead towards the end of the first half through tries from Rhyno Smith and Clayton Blommetjies.
Quick thinking from Pienaar
Slicing line from Volmink
Finish from @rhynosmith15 @cheetahsrugby are a man down but lighting it up #GuinnessPRO14 #CBLvCHE
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— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) November 9, 2019
However, the Blues were able to go into the break 17-14 ahead through two penalties from Jarrod Evans. The numerical advantage was always going to count as the Cheetahs tired in the second half, especially as the visitors lost Gerhard Olivier to a yellow card just before half time.
Evans kicked a further two penalties in the second half after lock Josh Turnbull went over in the corner. The Cheetahs applied plenty of pressure on the Blues line in the final 10 minutes, but were unable to come away with the two tries they needed to win.
Cardiff Blues – Tries: Aled Summerhill, Josh Turnbull. Conversion: Jarrod Evans. Penalties: Jason Tovey (2), Evans (4).
Cheetahs – Tries: Rhyno Smith, Clayton Blommetjies. Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (2). Penalty: Pienaar.
Cardiff Blues – 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Harri Millard, 13 Ray Lee-Lo, 12 Jarrod Evans, 11 Aled Summerhill, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Nick Williams (c), 7 Will Boyde, 6 Shane Lewis-Hughes, 5 Seb Davies, 4 Josh Turnbull, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Liam Belcher, 1 Corey Domachowski.
Subs: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Keiron Assiratti, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Alun Lawrence, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Willis Halaholo, 23 Jason Harries.
Cheetahs – 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Clayton Blommetjies, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Ruan Pienaar (c), 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 Walk Steenkamp, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Luan de Bruin.
Subs: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Sias Koen, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 George Whitehead, 23 Louis Fouche.
Photo: Athena Pictures/Getty Images