Barry's brace helps Cheetahs get past Scarlets
PRO14 REPORT: Craig Barry bagged a brace as the Cheetahs racked up their second successive home victory in the Pro14 by besting the Scarlets at the Free State Stadium.
The Cheetahs, who saw off Edinbrugh 33-13 in Round Nine, claimed another crucial victory in their bid to make the Conference A play-offs while the Scarlets were unable to follow up their dramatic 34-30 victory over the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth last time out.
The two sides exchanged penalties inside the first seven minutes, Dan Jones bisecting the posts for the visitors while Fred Zeilinga kicked over for the Cheetahs.
The same two players came to the fore again shortly afterwards, Zeilinga and Jones successfully landing a further penalty each and in the 20th minute, the Cheetahs came close to scoring the first try of the game, only for Johnny McNicholl to superbly halt Shaun Venter as he bore down on the tryline.
Five minutes later, the hosts did manage to go over through William Small-Smith, Zeilinga booting the extras, and the Cheetahs flyhalf was at it again 10 minutes later, slotting another penalty to make it 16-6.
In a flash, the Scarlets set about chipping away at the deficit and they hit straight back, McNicholl feeding James Davies, who turned on the afterburners to escape the attentions of two orange shirts before diving over for his team’s first try.
The two teams slugged it out in the early throes of the second period, with Zeilinga missing a penalty in the 55th minute as the Scarlets remained within touching distance.
But on the hour, the hosts did lunge further in front following a moment of magic from Craig Barry, the Cheetahs man setting off on a blistering run and carving his way through the heart of the visiting defence before racing over the line, Zeilinga converting.
Almost in a flash though, the Scarlets' Ioan Nicholas produced a stunning solo score of his own, the youngster showing a clean pair of heels to the Cheetahs back line before Jones added the extras to make it 23-18.
But with just over 10 minutes to go, Barry crossed for the second time, the hosts working through phase after phase before the Cheetahs flyer capitalised on a bouncing ball to put his side 10 points ahead.
Tom Prydie's late penalty brought the Scarlets back to within a converted score with just four minutes of play remaining but they were unable to muster a final breakthrough as the Cheetahs claimed victory.
Tries: Small-Smith, Barry 2
Cons: Zeilinga 2
Pens: Zeilinga 3
Tries: Davies, Nicholas
Pens: Jones 2, Prydie
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Makazola Mapimpi, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Junior Pokomela, 7 Rynier Bernardo, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld (captain), 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Jasper Wiese, 20 Daniel Maartens, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Tertius Kruger, 23 Sibhale Maxwane.
Scarlets: 15 Johnny Mcnicholl, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Steff Hughes (captain), 12 Paul Asquith, 11 Ioan Nicholas, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Will Boyde, 7 James Davies, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Lewis Rawlins, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Dylan Evans.
Replacements: 16 Taylor Davies, 17 Rhys Fawcett, 18 Simon Gardiner, 19 Steven Cummins, 20 Josh Macleod, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Ioan Hughes, 23 Morgan Williams.
Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stephen Geldenhuys (South Africa), Jaco Kotze (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)