Cheetahs earn play-off spot in dramatic fashion
CHALLENGE CUP REPORT: A last-minute penalty kick by Siya Masuku made sure the Cheetahs earned a spot in the Round of 16.
It was a very scrappy encounter with both teams failing to score a try.
Cheetahs flyhalf Siya Masuku and Pau pivot Thibault Debaes exchanged penalties before Cheetahs eventually secured the 9-6 win.
*To recap all the action CLICK HERE!!!
It wasn’t until the 23rd minute when the game finally saw its first points, Masuku converting a penalty to put his side three to the good. But Pau quickly responded, with Debaes kicking a penalty of his own in the 29th minute.
Both sides missed penalties in the closing stages of the first half, with Cheetahs’ Jeandre Rudolph sent to the sin-bin on 37 minutes.
That gave Pau a man advantage for the opening moments of the second half, but the French side were only able to notch a further three points when Debaes kicked his second penalty to give his side the lead for the first time in the game.
Masuku eventually restored parity to the scoreboard, kicking three points on 65 minutes, and that appeared to be where the scoring would end as Pau edged towards qualification.
That was until the visitors conceded a penalty in the final play, which Masuku masterfully converted to send his fellow players into raptures.
The result means the Cheetahs travel to France to face Toulon in the Round of 16.
Man of the match: It was really difficult finding a man of the match nonetheless our nod goes to Siya Masuku for holding his nerve with the last kick.
Pens: Masuku 3
Pens: Debaes 2
Yellow card: Jeandré Rudolph (Cheetahs, 37 – repeat infringements)
Cheetahs: 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 David Brits, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Munier Hartzenberg, 10 Siya Masuku, 9 Rewan Kruger, 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 Friedle Olivier, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Victor Sekekete (captain), 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Mzwanele Zito, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Branden de Kock, 22 Evardi Boshoff, 23 Andell Loubser.
Pau: 15 Théo Attissogbe, 14 Clément Laporte, 13 Yvan Reilhac, 12 Nathan Decron, 11 Daniel Ikpefan, 10 Thibault Debaes, 9 Clovis Lebail, 8 Jordan Joseph, 7 Martin Puech (captain), 6 Sacha Zegueur, 5 Mickael Capelli, 4 Guillaume Ducat, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Romain Ruffenach, 1 Ignacio Calles.
Replacements: 16 Lucas Rey, 17 Rémi Seneca, 18 Guram Papidze, 19 Lekima Tagitagivalu, 20 Thibaut Hamonou, 21 Reece Hewat, 22 Dan Robson, 23 Tumua Manu.
Referee: Federico Vedovelli (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Alex Frasson (Italy), Manuel Bottino (Italy)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)