De Bruin goes from villain to hero in Cheetahs win
PRO14 MATCH REPORT: Replacement prop Luan de Bruin went from villain to her, as he scored the winning try in a 24-17 win for the Cheetahs over the Southern Kings.
In a tense, but scrappy, battle at the Madibaz Stadium, in Port Elizabeth, on Friday the Kings drew level (17-all) with less than 10 minutes to go – when referee Quinton Immelman awarded a penalty try.
De Bruin was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes for illegally collapsing the maul.
However, his team hung tough and when he returned, deep into injury time, the prop was at the end of a series of powerful surges and managed to get to the ball over the line for the winner – making amends for his costly blunder earlier.
The Cheetahs were 7-0 in front at half-time, thanks to an early try from Sibahle Maxwane, but Kings pushed the Conference A side all the way in a pulsating encounter at Madibaz Stadium.
Kings produced a 17-point second-half resurgence, but fell agonisingly short to clinching their second win of their league campaign.
The win moves the Cheetahs back into contention for a place in the play-offs, while the Kings remain rooted to the bottom of Conference B.
Deon Davids made six changes to his Southern Kings side that lost to Edinburgh two weeks ago, while Cheetahs coach Franco Smith named an unchanged line-up from the trip to Zebre.
Cheetahs raced into an early lead when Tian Schoeman laid the ball off to Maxwane – the competition’s leading try-scorer – who used his explosive pace to cross for his ninth try of the campaign.
The visitors looked in trouble when captain Tian Meyer was binned in the 17th minute, but the Kings failed to capitalise on their one-man advantage as Cheetahs continued to dominate possession.
But the home side managed to stem the flow and denied Cheetahs any further scores for the next 25 minutes of rugby and the scoreline remained 7-0 right up until the clock ticked into the red.
Kings brought themselves back into the game just moments into the second-half, when Ntabeni Dukisa went over and Masixole Banda added the conversion.
But the visitors responded immediately when Retshegofaditswe Nche drove through the Kings’ defence to find Pokomela who crossed and Schoeman converted to restore their seven-point lead.
The home side hit back through a Banda penalty to cut the deficit to three points, but they were unable to build on their early second-half pressure as they struggled to break down the Cheetahs’ backline.
Benhard Janse van Rensburg scored a penalty to extend the visitors’ lead in a back-and-forth second-half between the two South African sides.
As the clock ticked down, both teams became increasingly desperate to secure the win and it was the Kings who were rewarded for their tenacity when they won a late penalty try, drawing the score level with just six minutes left to play.
But David’s side were denied their first ever draw against Cheetahs as De Bruin scored the winner in the final seconds.
For the Southern Kings:
Tries: Dukisa, Penalty try
Cons: Banda, penalty try does not require a conversion
For the Cheetahs:
Tries: Maxwane, Pokomela, De Bruin
Cons: Schoeman 2, Small-Smith
Pen: Janse van Rensburg
Yellow card: Tian Meyer (Cheetahs, 16 – cynical foul, killing the ball at a ruck), Luan de Bruin (Cheetahs, 73 – cynical foul, collapsing maul)
Southern Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Berton Klaasen, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Ntabeni Dukisa 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Henry Brown, 6 Cyril-John Velleman, 5 John-Charles Astle (captain), 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Alandre van Rooyen, 17 Lumpumlo Mguca, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Andries van Schalkwyk, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Martin du Toit, 23 Harlon Klaasen.
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 Marnus van der Merwe/Reinach Venter, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Walt Steenkamp, 21 Abongile Nonkontwana, 22 Shaun Venter, 23 Louis Fouché.
Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa), Paul Mente (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)