Cheetahs fall short in Australia
MATCH REPORT: The Western Force finally got their Challenge Series win, beating the Cheetahs 30-27 at Mandurah Stadium on Friday.
The men from Bloemfontein made a clean sweep in the first two rounds, clinching those by 27-12 and 31-27 in Bloemfontein.
However, an ill-disciplined second half in Australia – which included yellow cards to Carl Wegner and Daniel Maartens – handed Western Force the opportunity to take control of the highly competitive encounter.
The Australian side outscored their opponents by four tries to three during the 80 minutes.
The result sets up a very interesting match when the two teams lock horns in the final Challenge Series game on Saturday, October 7.
The Western Force applied the early pressure and were rewarded, scoring a try after just 13 minutes of play.
Just short of the quarter mark Cheetahs were rewarded a penalty and Ruan Pienaar made no mistake in fining the poles for the three points.
The Cheetahs’ defence again cracked and after a successful penalty by Max Burrey, Western Force extended their lead with their second try of the match.
Trailing by 10 points, the Cheetahs gradually built momentum with some much-needed possession. Gideon van der Merwe powered over the line for the try. Pienaar added the extras to narrow the deficit to just three.
The try sparked a possible Cheetahs’ comeback as the Bloemfontein side took the lead when Hencus van Wyk added his name to the score sheet.
Pienaar kicked over the conversion for the 17-13 lead at the break.
The Western Force started the second half strong, they enjoyed much of the possession and Jackson Pugh collected the ball from the line-out before beating a couple of defenders for the score.
Burey slotted over the extra two for the 20-17 lead.
The lead was short-lived as Pienaar levelled matters with a penalty, 20-all after 50 minutes.
The Cheetahs scrum enjoyed a brief period of dominance and they bagged a scrum penalty on the halfway mark. Unfortunately for the South Africans, Pienaar missed the poles.
The lead shifted again. From a short line-out and by a quick driving maul, hooker Marnus van der Merwe barged over the line to hand the Cheetahs the 27-20 lead.
With Western Force looking dangerous, the Cheetahs were reduced to 14 men as Carl Wegner was handed a yellow card for repeated infringements inside his own five metre.
A Burey penalty cut the lead to just four points before some hard work inside the Cheetahs’ five metres eventually saw Carlo Tizzano scored his team’s fourth try and bag his double
Burey added the conversion for the 30-27 lead.
The flyhalf had a chance to wrap up the game but he pushed his kick wide.
However, despite his kicking woes, his team got out on top and secured their first victory of the series.
For Western Force:
Tries: Poolman, Pugh, Tizzano 2
Cons: Burey 2
Pens: Burey 2
Tries: G Van Der Merwe, Van Wyk, M van der Merwe
Cons: Pienaar 2
Pens: Pienaar 2
Yellow cards: Carl Wegner (Cheetahs, 66 – repeated infringements); Daniel Maartens (Cheetahs, 80 – foul play)
Western Force: 15 Harry Potter, 14 George Poolman, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Bayley Kuenzle, 11 Ronan Leahy, 10 Max Burey (co-captain), 9 Henry Robertson, 8 Jeremy Williams (co-captain), 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Faamanu Kalolo, 5 Lopeti Faifua, 4 Jackson Pugh, 3 Tiaan Tauakipulu, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Marley Pearce
Replacements: 16 Ford Hemi, 17 Angus Wagner, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Reagan Leslie, 20 Albert Alcock, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Reesjan Pasitoa, 23 Rewita Biddle.
Cheetahs: 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Reinhardt Fortuin, 11 Cohen Jasper, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 9 Rewan Kruger, 8 Friedle Olivier, 7 Sibabalo Qoma, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete (captain), 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Laurence Victor, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: Marko Janse van Rensburg, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Daniel Maartens, 21 Jeandre Rudolph, 22 Raegan Oranje, 23 George Lourens
Photo credit: @rileymaring.photography