Cheetahs deny Stormers at the death
April 6, 2013
The Blues proved to be too strong for the Highlanders when the sides met at Eden Park © Getty Images
Cheetahs 26 - 24 Stormers Force 23 - 30 Melbourne Rebels Hurricanes 41 - 29 New South Wales Waratahs Sharks 21 - 17 Crusaders Brumbies 28 - 28 Southern Kings Blues 29 - 18 Highlanders
The Cheetahs grabbed their fifth win of the season against the Stormers thanks to a last gasp penalty from Burton Francis.
The 26-24 win takes them to within three points of the Sharks who currently lead the South African conference. The Bloemfontein side started the better of the two teams with Robert Ebersohn going over after 19 minutes. But their joy proved to be short lived as Juan de Jongh bagged a brace of scores in a six-minute spell prior to the break which meant the Stormers ended the first-half 15-7 up.
But the Cheetahs went 17-5 ahead with Francis nailing a penalty and Sarel Pretorius grabbing a try which was then converted. Stormers winger Joe Pietersen and Francis exchanged more kicks at the post and going into the final play of the game, the Cape Town franchise were 24-23 up. Francis, however, had the final say of the match much to the joy of the home crowd.
Two tries from winger Julian Savea helped the Hurricanes to a 41-29 bonus point win over the Waratahs in Wellington on Saturday.
Just three points separated the two teams at half-time, with the Hurricanes ahead 19-16. However three tries early in the second-half from prop Reg Goodes, hooker Motu Matu'u and Savea quickly took the game away from the Waratahs.
Scores from backs Adam Ashley-Cooper and Israel Folau narrowed the gap but it was not enough to quash what had been a great attacking display from the Hurricanes. The Canes are now second in the New Zealand conference after winning four on the trot, while the Waratahs sit in third in the Australian conference.
Elsewhere, the Melbourne Rebels beat Western Force 23-30 to give the side a boost after their horror tour to South Africa.
The Rebels recently lost two on the bounce in South Africa against the Sharks and Cheetahs but put in a solid first-half performance to gain the advantage against struggling Western Force. Lock Hugh Pyle and winger Jason Woodward both scored within 20 minutes, but a try from Force centre Winston Stanley put the score 11-15 at half-time.
Winger Richard Kingi went over the whitewash for the Rebels in the second-half, but the Force were quick to reply through full back Will Tupou. The Perth-based team added one more through Pat Dellit, but a second score from Woodward gave Rebels the win.
Patrick Lambie was the hero as he booted the Sharks to a first win over the Crusaders in six years on Friday, winning 21-17.
The New Zealanders had possessed a daunting record in Durban coming into the clash with four wins in their six visits but Lambie turned that on its head as his seven penalties guided the home side to victory.
Andy Ellis scored the only try of the game for the visitors with Tyler Bleyendaal also kicking 12 points. The result sees the Sharks stay in third place in the standings while the Crusaders hold steady in sixth.
Blues scrum-half Piri Weepu scored two late tries in a 29-18 win over the Highlanders at Eden Park on Friday which consigned the southern side to a sixth straight loss this Super Rugby season.
Up 13-12 at half-time, the Highlanders fell away late on to gift the Blues a third win which ends their own slump of three successive defeats.
Weepu was at the heart of victory, outplaying error-prone counterpart and fellow All Blacks half-back Aaron Smith in a game where countless handling errors mirrored the recent fortunes of both teams. Before Weepu found his way to the line the Blues scored two tries through flanker Steven Luatua and prop Angus Taavao-Matau to improve their home record against the Highlanders to nine wins from 11 meetings.
Elsewhere a post-siren try by No.8 Cornell du Preez earned the Southern Kings a 28-28 draw against the Brumbies in Canberra.
It was the second week in a row that the Brumbies were outscored in the tries department by a South African side and the visitors will walk away from the game with a sense of victory. They were the only team to claim the four-try bonus point as the Brumbies blew an early 13-point lead.
It appeared as though the Brumbies had the game wrapped up when they earned a penalty after the siren, but the Television Match Official ruled that prop Ben Alexander had shoulder charged Steven Sykes and the visitors earned another chance to attack the line. They didn't waste the opportunity and du Preez drove over from close range to score his second try of the match.
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