Cheetahs power past Edinburgh
PRO14 REPORT: The Cheetahs recorded a 33-13 bonus-point win over Edinburgh in their Pro14 clash in Bloemfontein on Friday.
Edinburgh scrumhalf Sam Hidalgo-Clyne single-handedly racked up 13 points within six second-half minutes to hand the South Africans a test of their credentials but a five-try showing saw the Cheetahs bounce back following their loss at Connacht in Round Eight with a bonus-point success.
On their first-ever visit to the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein in the Pro14, the visitors looked to turn the screw from the off, piling pressure on their opponents as they went out in search of a fourth straight victory in the championship.
The Cheetahs held firm early on and with 17 minutes on the clock, Jason Tovey missed the opportunity to kick Edinburgh into the lead, the flyhalf skewing a penalty wide of the posts.
When the hosts earned their first penalty of the game six minutes later, Fred Zeilinga saw his effort ping back off the upright but the Cheetahs’ man would successfully dissect the posts shortly afterwards as he added the extras to the opening try of the game.
Clayton Blommetjies' superb grubber kick swerved the ball around the corner for Craig Barry to blaze over, Zeilinga making it 7-0.
The Cheetahs continued their impressive showing by doubling their lead late in the first half, with superb expansive play allowing Rynier Bernardo to crash over, Zeilinga again converting.
Hidalgo-Clyne's penalty got the visitors on the board early in the second half and the pendulum swung back in Edinburgh's direction shortly afterwards as the 24-year-old burst into life from the breakdown, pipping over the line for an opportunist's try, which he converted himself to make it 14-10.
Hidalgo-Clyne's virtuoso display continued as he kicked Richard Cockerill's men to within a point in the 50th minute while the Cheetahs' Carl Wegner narrowly missed out on the chance to restore some breathing space for his team as he was denied inches from the tryline.
The hosts would achieve that feat on the hour-mark though, Junior Pokomela getting the finishing touch as the hosts teased the ball across the whitewash from a scrum, Zeilinga again adding the extras.
And the Cheetahs were homed and hosed five minutes from the death when Makazole Mapimpi finished off a slick passing move, the wing crashing over in the corner – there was also still time for replacement Tian Meyer to dot down to put the cherry on the cake, Zeilinga converting for the fourth time.
Tries: Barry, Bernardo, Pokomela, Mapimpi, Meyer
Cons: Zeilinga 4
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Luther Obi, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Makazola Mapimpi, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Junior Pokomela, 7 Rynier Bernardo, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld (captain), 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Jasper Wiese, 20 Daniel Maartens, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Tertius Kruger, 23 Craig Barry.
Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 James Johnstone, 12 Chris Dean, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Lewis Carmichael, 5 Fraser McKenzie (captain), 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Murray McCallum, 2 Neil Cochrane, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Cameron Fenton, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Kevin Bryce, 19 Callum Hunter-Hill, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Junior Rasolea.
Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Archie Sehlako, Jaco Kotze (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)