Cheetahs fall short in Cardiff
PRO14 REPORT: The Cheetahs suffered their sixth defeat of the 2017/2018 Pro14 season when they went down 20-25 to the Cardiff Blues in Cardiff on Saturday.
A scintillating performance from Nick Williams helped steer Cardiff to their first league win of 2018.
Williams crossed the whitewash following dot downs from Rey Lee-Lo and Ellis Jenkins as Cardiff moved back above Connacht.
This was the sixth defeat of the season for the Cheetahs and five of those have come away from the Free State Stadium.
In what was the first clash between the two sides in the Pro14, the Cheetahs made the perfect start thanks to the sheer power of Retshegofaditswe Nche.
The 22-year-old steamrollered through the Welsh outfit’s defence, holding off four players before sniping over by the posts.
But Danny Wilson would've been delighted with the immediate and incisive response his side made as Lee-Lo touched down.
The 30-year-old Samoan crashed over from short range after Aled Summerhill's superb break down the right hand side.
Six minutes later the Blues were in front as the hosts capitalised on a yellow card and dotted down thanks to the speedy Ellis Jenkins who collected the ball from the line-out to waltz over.
And a Jarrod Evans penalty helped extend the Blues advantage three minutes before the break.
The Blues came flying out of the blocks in the second period and a superb run from Rhun Williams carved apart the Cheetahs defence before being thwarted just before the line.
The Welsh faithful didn't have to wait long for a breakthrough as Williams powered his way over with a trademark burst to put nine points between the sides.
The Cheetahs looked down and out in the tie but finally showed signed of life in the 62nd minute as Uzair Cassiem crossed in the corner to bring the South Africans back to within a score.
Time was running out for the Cheetahs and the Blues extended their advantage with 10 minutes to go courtesy of another Evans penalty.
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Lee-Lo, E Jenkins, N Williams
Cons: Evans 2
Pens: Evans 2
Tries: Nche, Cassiem
Cons: Zeilinga 2
Pens: Zeilinga 2
Yellow card: Rynier Bernardo (Cheetahs, 27 - cynical play, slowing down the ball)
Cardiff Blues: 15 Rhun Williams, 14 Aled Summerhill, 13 Garyn Smith, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Owen Lane, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Ellis Jenkins, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Seb Davies, 4 George Earle, 3 Anton Peikrishvili, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins (captain).
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Josh Turnbull, 20 Olly Robinson, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Dan Fish, 23 Ryan Edwards.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Sibhale Maxwano, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Jacques Du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Niel Marais, 23 Malcolm Jaer.
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant referees: Rhys Thomas (Wales), Rob Price (Wales)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)