Cheetahs closing in on Munster, despite another card
PRO14 REPORT: The Cheetahs closed the gap on Munster in Pool A, with a comprehensive 45-24 drubbing of the Southern Kings in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The six-tries-to-three win came despite the Cheetahs' patchy discipline again costing them a card.
It means the Cheetahs are now just three points off the Irish province, Munster, in second place.
Nico Lee followed up last week's hat-trick with a double in Bloemfontein.
The first-half was a fairly even affair, with Luzuko Vulindlu and Schalk Ferreira crossing for the Kings, but Uzair Cassiem's score and Lee's brace giving the Cheetahs a half-time lead.
The second half though was all Cheetahs, as Retshegofaditswe Nche, Makazole Mapimpi and Shaun Venter all got their name on the scoresheet.
Tienie Burger did get a late consolation for the Kings but it was the Cheetahs' day, with the Conference B side completing two wins from two in the South African double header.
Fred Zeilinga opened the scoring for the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, kicking a penalty after just four minutes.
But the Kings fired back almost immediately to take the lead, with Andisa Ntsila popping up with the ball after a line-out and offloading to centre Vulindlu for the score.
Ntabeni Dukisa kicked the conversion but then the Cheetahs picked up the pace, with a succession of phases resulting in the ball in Lee's hands to finish off the move.
On 26 minutes the lead was stretched, with powerful No.8 Cassiem going over but the Kings again responding, this time through prop Ferreira.
Lee then completed his double, his fifth try in the South African double header, to give the home side a 24-17 lead at the break.
After the interval though the Cheetahs' relentless pressure started to tell, and when Clayton Blommetjies picked up a loose kick and punted upfield all that was left to do for Nche was collect the ball five metres out and trundle over the line.
The visitors attempted to get back into things but on 49 minutes the ball was stripped whilst the Kings were five metres out from the Cheetahs' line, the ball was booted away and Mapimpi won the foot-race to go in under the posts.
Four minutes later the Cheetahs got their sixth try, with a neat line-out seeing the ball passed back inside to Venter, who showed his pace to sprint 30 metres to the line.
The Kings refused to give up though and got their third try on 73 minutes with Burger taking a flat pass close to the line and proving unstoppable from ten metres out.
There was more pressure late on from the away side but the Bloemfontein team held on to complete the victory.
For the Cheetahs:
Tries: Lee 2, Cassiem, Nche, Mapimpi, Venter
Cons: Zeilinga 6
For the Southern Kings:
Tries: Vulindlu, Ferreira, Burger
Cons: Dukisa 2, Janse van Rensburg
Yellow card: Craig Barry (Cheetahs, 47 - foul play, making contact with a player in the air)
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 Nico Lee, 12 Niel Marais, 11 Makazola Mapimpi, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Teboho Mohoje (captain), 6 Henco Venter, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Jacques Du Toit, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Mthokozisi Mkhabela, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 Adriaan Coertzen.
Southern Kings: 15 Ntabeni Dukisa, 14 Michael Makase, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Martin du Toit, 9 Rowan Gouws, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Martinus Burger, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Michael Willemse (captain), 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Tango Balekile, 17 Johan Smith, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Lindokuhle Welemu, 20 Eital Bredenkamp, 21 Rudi van Rooyen, 22 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 23 Berton Klaasen.
Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant referees: AJ Venter (South Africa), Archie Sehlako (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)