Cheetahs claw closer to history

Sun, 28 Apr 2013 17:06
Large fransviljoenkings Large maybru logo630 Large adriaanstrausskings Large cheetahs v kings3 Large bulls v waratahs Large hurricanes v stormers2 Large francois steyn sharks v chi

The Cheetahs cleared a tricky hurdle on their road to a historic Super Rugby play-off in Bloemfontein at the weekend.

The Cheetahs cleared a tricky hurdle on their road to a historic Super Rugby play-off in Bloemfontein at the weekend.

The result against the Southern Kings could frankly be described as bittersweet given that the Cheetahs failed to secure a four-try bonus point.

Captain Adriaan Strauss played it safe in taking three points in the final quarter after he had turned down an earlier kickable penalty when the hosts had already scored three tries.
 
His change of heart and the Cheetahs’ inability to cash in against the newcomers marred the 26-12 win somewhat and the importance of the elusive log point will only be known at the end of the regular season.

It certainly was a curious call by Strauss when one considers that only four points separate the pace-setting Bulls from the fourth-placed Stormers in the South African Conference.

However, it’s not without logic, as fatigue was expected to take its toll on the Cheetahs in the dying minutes of their 10th consecutive match without a break.

The Cheetahs will be the first to admit that it was a lost opportunity, but they would be correct in their thinking that managing a seven-three win-loss record from such a demanding schedule overshadows a missed bonus point.

As the only South African team yet to receive a portion of their guaranteed eight log points (for their two byes) and with a schedule that includes just two more matches on the road (against the Kings and Stormers), the Cheetahs are well placed to reach their first ever Super Rugby play-off.

Ironically, the biggest threat to their play-off aspirations will come in the form of their remaining home games, all four of which will be against fellow play-off hopefuls.

Following their first bye this weekend, the Cheetahs will host the Hurricanes (ninth) next weekend and the Reds (fourth) the following weekend, with home games against the South African Conference-leading Bulls (third) and Blues (fifth) to follow.

It’s undoubtedly a bumpy road ahead and a loss in any one of their home fixtures would be a massive blow, but their endeavour to date has ensured that the Cheetahs - for the first time - have their Super Rugby destiny in their own hands.  

After seeing off the Waratahs, the Bulls will have their sights set on a home play-off with home games against the Hurricanes and Highlanders on either side of a bye and five local derbies wrapping up their regular season.

The Stormers and Sharks both still have three overseas assignments before returning home and the results of their tour openers are perhaps prophetic of their impending play-off charges, with the former having just enough mettle and the latter rather unluckily falling just short despite showing great character.

The Stormers (10th) have had both their byes but with a run-in that includes a tour match against the Melbourne Rebels and home and away games against the Kings, they will make a major push at a third consecutive South African Conference.

The injury-ravaged Sharks (eight) will target this weekend’s clash with the winless Highlanders in Dunedin, the Round 14 fixture against the Western Force in Perth and the final round home game against the Kings to boost their chances of a place in the six-team Finals Series.

By Quintin van Jaarsveld

MailBru: Will the Cheetahs reach the play-offs? Drop us an email to rugby@sportsmedia365.com with your comment and your reply could get published on rugby365 and win you a MayBru hamper in the process!

MayBru - Seriously South African  

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
Fri, 03 March 2017
Chiefs v Blues 06h35 Hamilton
Edinburgh v Ospreys 19h35 Myreside
Ulster v Treviso 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Connacht v Zebre 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 20h15 AJ Bell Stadium
Sat, 04 March 2017
Hurricanes v Rebels 04h15 Wellington
Highlanders v Crusaders 06h45 Dunedin
Brumbies v Sharks 08h45 Canberra
Sunwolves v Kings 10h55 Singapore
Lions v Waratahs 13h05 Johannesburg
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Welford Road
Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Bath v Wasps 15h00 Recreation Ground
Glasgow Warriors v Dragons 15h00 Scotstoun Stadium
Worcester Warriors v Bristol 15h00 Sixways
Stormers v Jaguares 15h15 Cape Town
Cardiff Blues v Munster 17h15 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Cheetahs v Bulls 17h30 Bloemfontein
Leinster v Scarlets 19h35 RDS Arena
Sun, 05 March 2017
Newcastle Falcons v Saracens 15h00 Kingston Park
Mon, 06 March 2017
UP-Tuks v CUT-Ixias 14h45 Pretoria
UKZN-Impi v UWC 16h30 Durban
WSU v CPUT 16h30 Mthatha
Fort Hare v TUT 16h30 Davidson Stadium
NMMU-Madibaz v UJ 16h30 Port Elizabeth
NWU-Pukke v Wits 16h30 Potchefstroom
Shimlas v Maties 17h00 Bloemfontein
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 1 1 0 0 4
Reds 1 1 0 0 4
Brumbies 1 0 0 1 1
Force 1 0 0 1 1
Rebels 1 0 0 1 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 1 1 0 0 5
Blues 1 1 0 0 5
Chiefs 1 1 0 0 5
Crusaders 1 1 0 0 4
Highlanders 1 0 0 1 0
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 1 1 0 0 4
Cheetahs 1 0 0 1 1
Bulls 1 0 0 1 0
Sunwolves 1 0 0 1 0
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Jaguares 1 1 0 0 4
Lions 1 1 0 0 4
Sharks 1 0 0 1 1
Kings 1 0 0 1 0