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Sad farewell for Cheetahs legend

MATCH REPORT: The Cheetahs bid a sad farewell to legend Ruan Pienaar as they suffered a 22-27 loss at the hands of Clermont in their Challenge Cup Round of 16 clash and made their exit from the competition on Saturday afternoon.

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It was the last outing for Pienaar as well as prop Schalk Ferreira as both bowed out of what can only be described as long and illustrious careers for both men.

The Cheetahs struggled to get any momentum from the word go and hardly managed to string together more than five phases in a row.

Their line-outs were abysmal and their fight in the loose was overshadowed by Clermont’s Alexandre Fischer who could face jail time for all the balls he stole on the ground.

Clermont managed to score their third try on the stroke of half time, stretching their lead to 20-3, the Cheetahs’ single penalty goal the only points they could show for their efforts in the first 40.

The visitors started the second half better, stealing the first line-out, offering them the opportunity to kick the ball out in Clermont’s 22 and trying to strike early in the second 40 minutes. But they lost the ball in the ensuing mall.

Clermont’s counter-attack was great, allowing them to eliminate any opportunities the Cheetahs tried to create.

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The Cheetahs were looking for redemption, and they started building more momentum as time went by.

The men in orange conceded a multitude of penalties in the danger zone as Clermont stayed on the attack.

Cheetahs prop Alulutho Tshakweni had a torrid time in the scrums, even having the referee giving him a talking-to.

The Clermont set-piece was firing and this is the area that gave them the upper hand against their visitors.

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The home side’s fourth try came after 50 minutes as Cheetahs flyhalf George Lourens sent through a kick which just resulted in a counterattack ending off with Baptiste Jauneau scoring a long distance try.

Clermont’s replacement prop Giorgi Dzmanashvili was gargantuan for Clermont, adding to their superiority in the set-pieces.

Finally, in the 62nd minute, the Cheetahs had a moment of brilliance as the forwards combined to send Siba Qoma over for the first try in the game.

Since the flank entered the fray, he was outstanding for his side, managing a turn-over while his defence across the whole park was exceptional.

A yellow card to hooker Etienne Fourcade, after he dived head-first into the ruck and collided with Daniel Kasende, reduced the home side to 14, offering the visitors a rare opportunity to claw their way back into the game.

Minutes later Tapiwa Mafura dotted down after a cross kick by Pienaar opened up the space for the fullback to score their second try, closing the gap to 15-27 with ten minutes left on the clock.

Forcing a five-metre scrum after a little grubber by Pienaar put Clermont under pressure, it set up a tasty ending to the Cheetahs’ fightback.

It worked in the favour of the visitors as Qoma worked his way across the whitewash again. This man brought the energy the Cheetahs needed.

The scoreboard read Clermont 27 Cheetahs 22 and the clock 72 minutes.

Unfortunately, despite a desperate fightback, the Cheetahs left it too little too late and the sand of time signalled their departure from the Challenge Cup.

Man of the Match: Pita Gus Sowakula – the big No. 8 brought the physicality and strength as his side dominated the set-pieces.

Scorers:

For Clermont:
Tries: Jurand, Delguy, Fourcade, Jauneau
Cons: Belleau 2
Pens: Belleau

For Cheetahs:
Tries: Qoma 2, Mafura
Cons: Pienaar 2
Pens: Olivier

Yellow card: Etienne Fourcade (Clermont, 66’ for dangerous play)

Teams:

Clermont: 15 Alex Newsome, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Léon Darricarrere, 12 Julien Heriteau, 11 Joris Jurand, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Sebastien Bezy (captain), 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Alexandre Fischer, 6 Peceli Yato, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Etienne Fourcade, 1 Giorgi Beria.
Replacements: 16 Yohan Beheregaray, 17 Daniel Bibi Biziwu, 18 Giorgi Dzmanashvili, 19 Paul Jedrasiak, 20 Lucas Dessaigne, 21 Baptiste Jauneau, 22 Theo Giral, 23 Alivereti Raka

Cheetahs: 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 Munier Hartzenberg, 12 Andell Loubser, 11 Litha Nkula, 10 George Lourens, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Friedle Olivier, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Jeandré Rudolph, 5 Victor Sekekete (captain), 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Laurence Victor, 19 Mzwandele Zito, 20 Gideon van der Merwe, 21 Siba Qoma, 22 Abner van Reenan, 23 Rewan Kruger

Referee: Sam Grove-White (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Ian Kenny (Scotland), Ru Cambell (Scotland)
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)

 

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