Benetton too good for indisciplined Cheetahs
PRO14 MATCH REPORT: Benetton produced a stunning second half to beat the Cheetahs 27-21 in their Round 13 match in Treviso on Saturday.
The Cheetahs looked like they could earn a valuable win on the road, but were ultimately undone by their own lack of discipline.
The Cheetahs were leading 16-8, when hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld (repeated infringements, killing the ball at the breakdown) and Shaun Venter (cynical foul, deliberately slapping the ball down) went off for yellow cards in quick succession.
By the time the duo returned, the home team held a 20-16 lead and had regained the momentum - which for large parts of the game had been with the Cheetahs.
There will also be concern over the neck injury suffered by Cheetahs captain Francois Venter.
Despite the defeat, the Cheetahs stay in third place in Conference A and in a play-off position.
Rory Duncan's men relied on three Fred Zeilinga penalties to give them a 9-5 lead going into the break, as Marty Ioane scored for the hosts.
Benetton flyhalf Marty Banks then closed the gap with a penalty, but when Springbok flank Teboho Mohoje scored and Zeilinga converted, the Cheetahs had opened up a 16-8 lead.
But those two yellow cards in the space of a minute saw the Cheetahs reduced to 13 men.
It didn't take Benetton long to capitalise, and the had their second try through Epalahame Faiva on 60 minutes.
The hosts took the lead soon over through Federico Ruzza, and when Banks converted they had a 20-16 lead.
Despite the Cheetahs having 15 players back on the field, the killer blow came on 70 minutes when Benetton got their fourth, and the bonus point try, through Faiva's second to put the game to bed.
The Cheetahs hit back with a late try through Mohoje to secure a bonus point, but it was too little too late.
Tries: Ioane, Faiva 2, Ruzza
Cons: Banks 2
For the Cheetahs:
Tries: Mohoje 2
Pens: Zeilinga 3
Yellow cards: Torsten van Jaarsveld (Cheetahs, 55 - repeated infringements, killing the ball at the breakdown), Shaun Venter (Cheetahs, 56 - cynical foul, deliberately slapping the ball down)
Benetton: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Luca Sperandio, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Marco Barbini, 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Whetu Douglas, 5 Dean Budd (captain), 4 Irné Herbst, 3 Tiziano Pasquali, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Nicola Quaglio.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Cherif Traore, 19 Federico Ruzza, 20 Marco Fuser, 21 Sebastian Negri, 22 Edoardo Gori, 23 Ian McKinley.
Cheetahs: 15 Craig Barry, 14 William Small Smith, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Makazola Mapimpi, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Botha Tom, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Mthokozisi Mkhabela, 22 Niel Marais, 23 Adriaan Coertzen.
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland), Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
TMO: Leo Colgan (Ireland)