Cheetahs ease past Reds
May 18, 2013
The Blues found it hard going against the Crusaders © Getty Images
The Cheetahs powered past the Reds 27-13 in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The Reds were never really in the game with Petrus van Zyl's two first-half tries and the deadly boot of Elgar Watts proving to be too much for the side from Brisbane. Van Zyl got the Cheetahs off on the right foot after just two minutes with his second try also coming in the first-half. Watts slotted eight points to bring up the Cheetahs' first-half 18-point total while Quade Cooper's pair of penalties got the Reds on the scoreboard.
But come the second-half, it was more of the same with Watts slotting another three penalties giving the Cheetahs an unassailable lead. The Reds rallied late on with Ben Lucas going over, but it was too little, too late.
Earlier on Saturday, the Bulls thrashed the Highlanders 35-18 in Pretoria.
The Highlanders have endured a woeful season and the Bulls barely had to get out of second gear against the men from New Zealand. They ran in four tries in total with JJ Engelbrecht, Akona Ndungane, Pierre Spies and Jano Vermaak all going over. Morne Steyn also proved to be lethal from the tee as he contributed 15 points to their total.
The Highlanders tried to get a foothold in the game but the majority of their points came in the last eight minutes with Fumiaki Tanaka and Tamati Ellison going over.
The Waratahs produced an impressive second-half comeback to beat Australian rivals the Brumbies 28-22 in Sydney on Saturday.
The 'Tahs were trailing 13-6 at half-time, with the Brumbies bagging two scores, but they stormed back in the second 40 going over for three tries. For the away side, No.8 Ben Mowen and Tevita Kuridrani both grabbed tries in the first-half with the boot of Brendan McKibbin keeping the 'Tahs in the match.
But come the second-half the Waratahs took hold of the game with ex-Brumbie Michael Hooper, Berrick Barnes and Peter Betham all scoring. Barnes kept the scoreboard ticking over for the home side with Jesse Mogg slotting nine second-half points for the away team. But it proved to be in vain as the 'Tahs held on for their seventh win of the season.
Earlier on Saturday, the Crusaders hammered the Blues 23-3 in Christchurch.
Led by inspirational returning captain Kieran Read and a wonderful defensive performance from Dan Carter, the Crusaders produced some hugely effective and brutal rugby reminiscent of their play during their dominant spell in the noughties. The game-clinching try occurred in the 48th minute when Owen Franks profited from a driving maul and some neat phase play to dive over.
The try put the match to bed with Tom Taylor's accurate kicking from the tee also quashing any hope of a Blues fightback - the fullback slotted 13 points throughout the match. And despite their dominance, they mustered just one other try which came through Ryan Crotty in the first-half.
A late penalty try gave the Melbourne Rebels a famous 30-21 win over the Stormers in their Super Rugby clash at AAMI Park on Friday night.
After coming tantalisingly close in their past four matches, the Rebels finally finished in front to earn their third win of the season and their first-ever over a South African opponent. The home side bagged three tries with Scott Higginbotham, Hugh Pyle and a penalty try bringing up their total - an impressive feat considering they were without Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor.
The Stormers also mustered three tries of their own with Louis Schreuder, Bryan Habana and Andries Bekker scoring but the boot of Jason Woodward proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Elsewhere on Friday, the Western Force put in a solid showing against the Sharks but it was the Durban franchise who came away with the 23-13 victory in Perth.
The home side went into the break 10-7 to the good with Kyle Godwin's try and five points from Jayden Hayward bringing up the Force's total while Keegan Daniel's converted try was all the Sharks could muster. Come the second 40, Riaan Viljoen scored for the Sharks and Pat Lambie's deadly boot helped keep the Force at bay despite their valiant showing.
And the Chiefs recorded a 17-12 victory away at Kiwi rivals the Highlanders.
Dave Rennie's injury-ravaged side have made a habit of winning ugly in recent weeks and in the wet, greasy conditions at Westpac Stadium they continued that trend notching their ninth win of the season. The Hurricanes' play-off hopes are not quite dead and buried yet, but they are hanging by a thread with matches against the Brumbies, Chiefs, Highlanders and Crusaders to come after next week's bye.
The Chiefs scored the game's only try when Tanerau Latimer dived over in the 54th minute. Up until then it had been a kicking duel between the team's respective five-eighths Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett, which Cruden shaded.
Charl McLeod of the Sharks is tackled against the Force © Getty Images
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