Cheetahs secure bonus-point win in Italy
PRO14 REPORT: A brace from Benhard Janse van Rensburg helped the Cheetahs clinch a third Pro14 victory of the season against Conference A rivals Zebre in Parma.
Three second-half tries secured the South Africans a dominant 27-12 bonus-point victory to continue their unbeaten run against the Parma-based outfit.
Victory leaves the Cheetahs six points clear of their opponents in Conference A with two games in hand over the Italians.
Following a scrappy opening period, the visitors were handed a golden opportunity to put the first points on the board when Malcolm Jaer capitalised on the loose ball, but the wing’s kick was too powerful, and the ball flew out of play with a certain try in the reckoning.
But it mattered little as only moments later Cheetahs took advantage when the ball was turned over inside the Zebre 22 and Van Rensburg dotted down out wide.
Tian Schoeman converted, and it served as perfect inspiration for Cheetahs as they notched up their second try of the afternoon only two minutes later. The Bloemfontein outfit spread the ball wide and their patient play was rewarded when 23-year-old wing Rabz Maxwane powered his way over the line to stretch the lead to 12-0.
But when Maxwane’s loose pass gifted Zebre possession, the Italians quickly broke through Carlo Canna who dispatched the ball to Edoardo Padovani to sprint to the line and score.
Then just two minutes later on his return from injury, Giulio Bisegni had the pace and experience to blitz his way to the tryline and cross to draw his side level as Canna successfully converted.
Following the restart, the tries continued to rain down as Van Rensburg clinched his second of the afternoon after the ball was worked quickly out to the 21-year-old to bash his way over.
Schoeman was inches from notching his side a bonus point, but the South African flyhalf knocked on as he tried to reach for the line.
As the clock ticked down, Zebre became increasingly desperate to get back on level terms, but their eagerness was punished when George Biagi was sin-binned for collapsing the scrum.
From the resultant penalty, the Cheetahs struck to clinch the spoils as Reinach Venter rolled away from the rolling maul to dive over the line and claim the bonus point.
The man advantage proved vital once again as Franco Smith’s men powered their way over the line with the try going the way of Daniel Maartens for his third try of the campaign.
Tries: Padovani, Bisegni
Tries: Janse van Rensburg 2, Maxwane, Venter, Maartens
Yellow card: George Biagi (Zebre, 73)
Zebre: 15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Paula Balekana, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Nicolas De Battista, 11 James Elliott, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Guglielmo Palazzani, 8 Jimmy Tuivaiti, 7 Giovanni Licata, 6 Maxime Mbandà, 5 Samuele Ortis, 4 David Sisi (captain), 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Massimo Ceciliani, 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Replacements: 16 Luhandre Luus, 17 Daniele Rimpelli, 18 Giosué Zilocchi, 19 George Biagi, 20 Iacopo Bianchi, 21 Joshua Renton, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 Tommaso Boni.
Cheetahs: 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer (captain), 8 Daniel Maartens, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Reinach Venter, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Walt Steenkamp, 21 Abongile Nonkontwana, 22 Rudy Paige, 23 Louis Fouche.
Referee: Dan Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Aled Evans (Wales) Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Roscini (Italy)
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