Cheetahs rout hapless Romanian tourists
MATCH REPORT: The Cheetahs completed their November campaign with an impressive 54-5 rout of Romania’s champion Baia Mare club team on Friday.
The eight tries to one rout were the result of six second-half tries, after the tourists team out of gas.
Despite scoring after just four minutes and still being in touch (just 5-12 down) at the half-time break, the Cheetahs ran the opposition ragged in an impressive display of forward dominance and sublime backline skills.
Flawless it was not. Impressive it certainly was.
The visitors opened the scoring when quick hands – from a Brandon Thomson mistake opened up the space for Kefentse Mahlo on the left wing and the former Bulls flyer strolled over. Namibian flyhalf Helarius Kisting was wide with his conversion attempt.
That’s how the score stayed till the water break at the end of the first quarter, the Cheetahs their own worst enemies with a litany of errors.
Almost straight from the restart Cheetahs flank Lohan Potgieter snatched a ball palmed back on defence and sprinted over for the hosts’ opening try. Thomson added the conversion as the Cheetahs took a 7-0 lead.
The Cheetahs’ high error count continued, leaving the score unchanged as the game moved past the half-hour mark.
With the conditions improving, after some rain earlier in the day, the Cheetahs started playing more expansive – threatening the Romanian team’s line repeatedly. However, they were just not clinical enough.
Two minutes before the break, flank Gideon van der Merwe used brute force to go over from five metres out. Thomson was wide with the conversion – 12-5 at half-time.
Early in the second half right wing Evardi Boshoff went over on the left side – as the Cheetahs took the ball through multiple phases, interspersed with some sublime handling. Thomson added the conversion to make it a 14-point (19-5) lead.
Just short of the hour mark Baia Mari was reduced to 14 men, when flank Florian Rosu was yellow carded for when the referee ran out of patience with repeated infringements.
Almost immediately the Cheetahs stretched their lead to 21 points (26-5), when hooker Louis van der Westhuizen got an armchair ride from a powerful maul.
Just past the hour mark, the Cheetahs were awarded a penalty try and Baia Mare scrumhalf Vlad Bocanet was sent to the sin bin for cynically killing a rolling, maul near his own line – 33-5.
Replacement hooker Marnus van der Merwe got the next try, sitting at the back of a powerful maul. Masuku made it 40-5 with the conversion.
With 10 minutes remaining the Cheetahs’ most productive player, flank Gideon van der Merwe. was sent to the sin bin after a string of penalties inside the Cheetahs’ 22-metre area.
However, the replacement flyhalf, Masuku, scored next – an intercept by Howard Mnisi setting up the counter. Masuku added the conversion – 47-5.
Lock Victor Sekekete sealed the win with an eighth try on the final hooter, Masuku’s conversion making the fin bal score 54-5.
For the Cheetahs
Tries: Potgieter, G van der Merwe, Boshoff, Van der Westhuizen, Penalty try, M van der Merwe, Masuku, Sekekete
Cons: Thomson 2, Masuku 4, penalty try does not require a conversion
For Baia Mare
Yellow cards: Florian Rosu (Baia Mare, 54 – repeated infringements), Vlad Bocanet (Baia Mare, 61 – cynical foul, illegally stopping a rolling maul near the line), Gideon van der Merwe (Cheetahs, 70 – repeated infringements, illegal play at the breakdown)
Cheetahs: 15 Cohen Jasper, 14 Evardi Boshoff, 13 David Brits, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Craig Barry, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Lohan Potgieter, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Hanro Jacobs, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Marnus van der Merwe, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Marné Coetzee, 19 Teboho Mohoje, 20 Celimpilo Gumede, 21 Rewan Kruger, 22 Siyabonga Masuku, 23 Robert Ebersohn.
Baia Mare: 15 Paul Popoaia, 14 Adrian Apostol, 13 Jason Tomane, 12 David Feliuai, 11 Kefentse Mahlo, 10 Helarius Kisting, 9 Vlad Bocanet, 8 Alexandru Alexe, 7 Dumani Mtya, 6 Florian Rosu, 5 Stefan Iancu, 4 Mate Dardzulidze, 3 Revazi Dugladze, 2 Ovidiu Cojocaru (captain), 1 Constantin Pristavita.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Tala, 17 Mihai Dico, 18 Omar Baliashvili, 19 Marius Danila, 20 Aleksandre Kalmakhelidze, 21 Alexandru Tigla, 22 Alexandru Bucur, 23 Mihau Lamboiu.
Referee: Ruhan Meyiring
Assistant referees: Philip Kotze, DF Hefer
TMO: Ben Crouse