Cheetahs down Kings in try-fest
PRO14 MATCH REPORT: Cheetahs pulled off a bonus point derby victory over South African rivals Southern Kings as Reinach Venter secured the hosts a fourth successive victory for the first time in the PRO14.
Kings roared back to within four points, but Franco Smith’s men had earlier rallied by scoring six tries to come out on top in Bloemfontein.
Masixole Banda’s penalty put the visitors ahead inside the first minute, but the Cheetahs broke back immediately through captain Shaun Venter as he dummied his way to a third try in successive matches. Tian Schoeman added the extras.
The Cheetahs steadily grew in confidence and they extended their advantage, largely thanks to the drive of flank Junior Pokomela, as the ball was threaded to Schoeman and the flyhalf dodged his way to the try line to score his first PRO14 try before again converting.
Things got worse for the Kings as Meli Rokoua’s was given a yellow card and with the man advantage Cheetahs immediately capitalised as the ball was worked wide to the right flank by Benhard Janse van Rensberg for William Small-Smith to dive over the whitewash for his third try of the season.
After substantial pressure, Kings suddenly had the man advantage after Joseph Dweba was sin-binned and from the resultant line-out a neatly worked move enabled Cyril Velleman to crash over. Banda converted to chip away at the lead.
The Cheetahs were down to 13 men two minutes before the break with Small-Smith sin-binned, but Franco Smith’s men held out to secure a 19-10 half-time advantage.
Kings comeback continued six minutes after the restart as Rokoua inspired a stunning breakaway before expertly threading in Yaw Penxe with the inside of his hand for the wing to power his way over the line and cut the lead to four points.
But Kings’ resistance was swiftly ended as a full-strength Cheetahs secured their bonus point after a flowing move from right to left was finished off by fullback Malcolm Jaer against his former employers.
Victory was wrapped up for the hosts as the league’s top try scorer Rabz Maxwane and Schoeman combined for Pokomela to dart his way over the line for his fourth career try.
But it was double punishment for Kings as Velleman made contact with Pokomela’s head, leaving referee Stuart Berry with no other decision but to brandish a red card.
Hooker Venter added what proved to be a crucial sixth try for the hosts as Tienie Burger, Alandre van Rooyen and Harlon Klaasen scored late consolation tries to secure two bonus points for the Kings.
Tries: Venter, Schoeman, Small-Smith, Jaer, Pokomela, de Bruin
Cons: Schoeman 4
Tries: Velleman, Penxe, Burger, van Rooyen, Klaasen
Cons: Banda 4
Yellow cards: Dweba (Cheetahs, 32), Small-Smith (Cheetahs, 38), Rokoua (Kings, 21)
Red Card: Velleman (Kings, 62)
Cheetahs: 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Shaun Venter (captain), 8 Gerhard Olivier, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Abongile Nonkontwana, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Reinach Venter, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Neill Jordaan, 22 Rudy Paige, 23 Ernst Stapelberg.
Southern Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Meli Rokoua, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Ntabeni Dukisa 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Martinus Burger, 6 Cyril-John Velleman, 5 John-Charles Astle (captain), 4 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Alandre van Rooyen, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 De-Jay Terblanche, 19 Stephan Greeff, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Bader Pretorius, 23 Berton Klaasen.
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)