Pienaar stars as Cheetahs feast on Zebre

Ruan Pienaar kicked 18 points to help the Cheetahs open the 2023-24 European Challenge Cup with a comprehensive victory over Zebre in Parma on Saturday.

The 39-year-old veteran scrumhalf was named Man of the Match for a clinical kicking performance that included four penalties and three conversions in boosting the Free Staters to a 33-15 victory.

Scores remained locked at a penalty apiece on the 30-minute mark, before Pienaar added another penalty and just one minute later put up a well-placed box kick that led to a Zebre error and Cheetahs winger Cohen Jasper pouncing on the try-scoring opportunity. Pienaar added the conversion and then couldn’t stifle a grin after slotting a wide-angle penalty on the stroke of half time to give the tourists a 16-3 lead.

It did not take the Cheetahs long to add to their advantage after the break, with centre Reinhardt Fortuin crossing for a try just three minutes into the second half, converted by Pienaar.

Two tries from the home side in the final three minutes of play did little to detract from a comfortable victory for the Cheetahs, guided by Pienaar’s tactical nous and pinpoint boot.

Photo: Fred Porcu/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

Post by