The Cheetahs scored 14 tries, with Sergeal Petersen and Paul Schoeman recording hat-tricks, as they annihilated the Sunwolves 92-17 in Bloemfontein on Friday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
In the third round of the competition, the Cheetahs secured a narrow 32-31 win over the Sunwolves in Singapore. Yet this time around, the winless Sunwolves were quite frankly humiliated.
Within the opening quarter the Cheetahs had breezed into a 28-3 lead. At that point it already looked to be game over. Before half-time, Petersen scored his first two tries, while Shaun Venter also dotted down as the hosts opened up a 45-3 advantage.
Considering the Cheetahs’ only win of the season had come against the Sunwolves just over a month ago, it was an incredible scoreline. And while the Japan-based side have yet to win a game this season, this represented their first complete blowout, with the effects of a long tour clearly taking its toll.
As illustrated by SARugbymag.co.za's Opta-powered stats, the Cheetahs quite simply ran all over the Sunwolves. In the opening stanza, the Cheetahs made 364m to 133m, made nine clean breaks to one, while they pounced on 11 turnovers conceded by the visitors. In addition, the Cheetahs completely dominated at scrum time and feasted on their surfeit of possession.
When Hilton Lobberts and Clayton Blommetjies then scored just six minutes after the restart to push the lead out to 59-3, it was a very real possibility that Super Rugby’s largest ever winning margin of 89 could be under threat. On that occasion back in 2007, the Bulls beat the Reds 92-3.
Mercifully for the Sunwolves, though, they were finally able to benefit from some possession, with Derek Carpenter and then Mifiposeti Paea going over to score next as the game headed into the final quarter.
However, Schoeman scored his hat-trick, while Jacques du Toit and Petersen would all add to the home side’s try tally before the final whistle as the Cheetahs recorded their highest points tally in a Super Rugby game and the most tries for any South African side in a single match. In the chaotic final stages, Petersen unselfishly offloaded to Schoeman rather than add to what could have been a personal four-try haul.
Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Nico Lee, 12 Francois Venter (c), 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Hilton Lobberts, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais.
Subs: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Johan Coetzee, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Oupa Mohoje, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Fred Zeilinga.
Sunwolves – 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Viliami Lolohea, 13 Harumichi Tatekawa, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Mifiposeti Paea, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Yuki Yatomi, 8 Ed Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Tomás Leonardi, 5 Liaki Moli, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Shota Horie (c), 1 Masataka Mikami.
Subs: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Ziun Gu, 18 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19 Faatiga Lemalu, 20 Yoshiya Hosoda, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Yasutaka Sasakura.
Photo: Gerhard Steenkamp/BackpagePix