Cheetahs edge Bulls in scrappy affair
MATCH REPORT: The Cheetahs opened their Challenge Series campaign with a 17-14 win over the Bulls in a scrappy affair in Bloemfontein on Friday.
The encounter, part of the Cheetahs’ preparations for their entry into the European Challenge Cup in December, was the epitome of a ‘pre-season’ outing.
The visitors held a slender two-point (7-5) lead at the half-time break – with both sides squandering a number of opportunities.
The sloppy nature of the game was encapsulated in the number of missed tackles – both teams going into double digits.
The Cheetahs’ second try – and the first points of a stop-start second half – came after a dropped pass, hacked ahead by first Ruan Pienaar and then Enver Brandt, who used his pace to get to the ball for the five-pointer.
Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie admitted that the rash of errors robbed his team any hope of momentum.
“Our game management was also not good enough,” Fourie added.
‘there is certainly plenty to work on.
“The positive is that we won, while playing badly.”
The coach dismissed the suggestion that it was a ‘second-string’ Bulls team.
He added that he was preparing to face Italy, who pulled out at the last minute and had to stick to the named side.
“I was a bit worried,” he said about the last-minute change of opposition.
“The Bulls side that started was really powerful,” Fourie said, adding: “[Prop] Dylan Smith started in the URC match [against Edinburgh] last week, [fellow prop] Jacques van Rooyen has played a lot of games for their URC side, [hooker] Bismarck du Plessis is a Springbok with plenty of experience.
“There is also Morné Steyn.
“They have a really strong squad with lots of depth.”
The only big concern is the shoulder injury suffered by flank Roelof Smit, who will undergo a scan to determine the seriousness of the problem.
For the Cheetahs
Tries: Zito, Brandt, Van der Westhuizen
For the Bulls
Tries: Van Rooyen, Penalty try
Cons: Steyn, Penalty try does not require a conversion
Yellow cards: Stravino Jacobs (Bulls, 51 – foul play, playing an opponent in the air), Victor Sekekete (Cheetahs, 60 – repeated infringements, illegally collapsing a maul)
Cheetahs: 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Munier Hartzenberg, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Reinhardt Fortuin, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 Siyamthanda Masuku, 9 Rewan Kruger, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Friedle Olivier, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Victor Sekekete (captain), 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Cameron Dawson.
Replacements: 16 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Marne Coetzee, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Marnus van der Merwe, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 David Britz, 23 Cohen Jasper.
Bulls: 15 Wandisile Simelane, 14 Sibongile Novuka, 13 Marco Jansen van Vuuren, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Morné Steyn (Captain), 9 Bernard van der Linde, 8 Muller Uys, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 6 Raynhard Mouton, 5 Ruan Vermaak, 4 Merwe Olivier, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Wiehan Bezuidenhout, 18 Mhleli Dlamini, 19 Juan van der Westhuizen, 20 Abulele Ndabambi, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Juan Mostert, 23 Frederik du Plessis.
Referee: Paul Mente
Assistant referees: Christopher Allison, Ashleigh Murray-Pretorius
Television Match Official: Ben Crous