Rabz Maxwane finally equalled the Pro14 try-scoring record as the Cheetahs beat the Dragons 38-13 in Bloemfontein on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
It took 79 minutes of an admittedly low-quality match in which the Cheetahs struggled to create too much of substance, but Maxwane was at his opportunistic best to score his long-awaited 14th try of the season.
It puts the 23-year-old winger level with Tim Visser for most tries in a Pro14 season and he can break the record in the Cheetahs’ next fixture against the Kings.
The first half was a bit of a penalty-ridden mess, with the home side enjoying the better of the territory but turning the ball over regularly.
The Cheetahs opened the scoring through a penalty from Tian Schoeman. The Dragons grew into the game as it went on and levelled matters just before the half-hour mark through Josh Lewis.
The hosts did finally find the breakthrough when No 8 Henco Venter went over from the back of a lineout just before the break, with Schoeman’s conversion giving them a seven-point lead at half-time.
However, the Dragons got the second half off to a cracking start when flank Tain Basham muscled over from close range for a converted try which once again tied the scores.
A powerful scrumming effort then saw the Dragons further boosted as they won a penalty and got Cheetahs loosehead Aranos Coetzee yellow-carded.
Shaun Venter then broke off the back of a strong maul and went for a sniping run to score the Cheetahs’ second of the match.
That seemed to break the Dragons mentally as the floodgates opened in the final 10 minutes.
The game was sealed when the Cheetahs sucked in a number of defenders by taking the ball through the phases near the Dragons line, allowing Schoeman the space to step past a tackler and dot down a self-converted try.
Louis Fouche then came off the bench and added a further try, before Maxwane finally equalled the record just before full time.
Cheetahs – Tries: Henco Venter, Shaun Venter, Tian Schoeman, Louis Fouche, Rabz Maxwane. Conversions: Schoeman (5). Penalty: Schoeman.
Dragons – Try: Tain Basham. Conversion: Josh Lewis. Penalties: Lewis (2).
Cheetahs – 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Tian Meyer (c), 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Dries Swanepoel, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Abongile Nonkontwana, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Charles Marais.
Subs: 16 Marnus van der Merwe, 17 Aranos Coetzee, 18 Reinach Venter, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Louis Fouché, 23 Darron Adonis.
Dragons – 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Zane Kirchner, 13 Adam Warren, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Josh Lewis, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Lewis Evans, 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Leon Brown, 2 Elliot Dee (c), 1 Ryan Bevington.
Subs: 16 Rhys Lawrence, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Max Williams, 20 Huw Taylor, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Jason Tovey, 23 Will Talbot-Davies.
Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images