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Cheetahs roar as they demolish Zebre

MATCH REPORT: The Cheetahs kicked off their Challenge Cup campaign with a convincing 33-15 victory over Zebre in Parma on Saturday.

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The Cheetahs, despite controlling the match from the kick-off, could not score a fourth bonuspoint try.

The first penalty went the way of the visitors in Parm in front of the goal posts and Ruan Pienaar got them on the scoreboard.

After 10 minutes Zebre worked their way up to the Cheetah’s 22 and two line-outs followed for the home-side. But the Cheetahs threw everything into the defence and won the turn-over.

The Cheetahs survived the onslaught and managed to work their way into the Zebre half of the field through the kicking boot of Pienaar.

After 30 minutes neither of the teams managed to stamp their authority although the Cheetahs got a yellow and Tiff Eden equaled the score to 3-3 with a successful penalty goal.

Zebre could not make any inroads with their numerical advantage and in fact Pienaar slotted another penalty goal to take his side into the lead again by 6-3.

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Then Cohen Jasper intercepted and scored under the poles after too many mistakes by Zebre handed him the opportunity. Pienaar added the extras and the visitors were leading 13-3 just before half-time.

Another indiscretion by Zebre helped the Cheetahs extend their lead to 16-3 at half-time.

The Cheetahs quickly worked their way into the Zebre 22 after the start of the second half. A relieving kick by the home-side could not win a lot of metres leaving the visitors still on the attack.

Jeandre Rudolph worked his way over the try-line but the ball was not grounded.

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The visitors held the foot on the pedal and proceeded to put pressure on Zebre, testing their defence lines.

Mafura crossed the advantage line and Reinhardt Fortuin managed to get over the whitewash for the Cheetah’s second try. Pienaar added the extras and extended the Cheetah’s lead to 23-3.

With 53 minutes run down on the clock, another penalty goal by Pienaar stretched their lead to 26-3 and the visitors were well and truly in the driving seat.

Just over an hour of play, the Cheetahs scored their third try through the efforts of replacement hooker Louis van der Westhuizen and by this time the visitors had the game very much wrapped in the bag.

Zebre’s mistakes hampered their efforts and the Cheetahs on it, turning over possession and picking up loose balls from where they could launch their attack.

It was a good performance by the men from Bloemfontein considering the lack of action they have had in recent months.

The last three minutes saw Zebre launch a ferocious attack and it paid off as they scored two quick tries in succession.

It was an impressive end to Zebre’s effort but it was too little too late.

Man of the Match: The experienced Ruan Pienaar took full control of the game from the first minute, directing traffic while he also did not miss a kick at goal.

Scorers:

For Zebre:
Tries: Fusco
Con: Prisciantelli
Pens: Eden

For Cheetahs:
Tries: Jasper, Fortuin, Van der Westhuizen
Cons: Pienaar 3
Pens: Pienaar 4

Yellow card: Laurence Victor (Cheetahs – 27’ for cynical play)

Teams:

Zebre: 15 Geronimo Prisciantelli, 14 Jacopo Trulla, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Franco Smith, 11 Simone Gesi, 10 Tiff Eden, 9 Alessandro Fusco, 8 Giovanni Licata, 7 Jacopo Bianchi, 6 Giacomo Ferrari, 5 Andrea Zambonin, 4 Dave Sisi, 3 Juan-Manuel Pitinari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Danilo Fischetti
Replacements: 16 Giampietro Ribaldi, 17 Luca Rizzoli, 18 Matteo Nocera, 19 Guido Volpi, 20 Taina Fox-Matamua, 21 Gonzalo Garcia, 22 Fetuli Paea, 23 Jake Polledri

Cheetahs: 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Siba Xamlashe, 13 Evardi Boshoff, 12 Reinhardt Fortuin, 11 Cohen Jasper, 10 George Lourens, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Jeandrè Rudolph, 7 Friedle Olivier, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Laurence Victor, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Schalk Ferreira
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Daniel Maartens, 21 Sibabalo Qoma, 22 Rewan Kruger, 23 Ali Mgijima

Referee: Jack Makepeace
Assistant referees: Sara Cox, Gareth Holsgrove
TMO: Dean Richards.

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