Cheetahs fight back to sink Dragons
PRO14 REPORT: The Cheetahs maintained their push for a place in the Pro14 Final Series with a 29-17 win over the Dragons – just their second win outside of South Africa this season.
The visitors outscored the home side by four tries to two in the crucial win.
Two second-half tries from Sibahle Maxwane with Fred Zeilinga and Clayton Blommetjies also diving over secured the bonus points as the Cheetahs came from 3-10 down at half-time.
Ashton Hewitt had given the Dragons an early lead with Elliot Dee offering them hope midway through the second but they remain without a league win since Round Five.
The Dragons thought they had a score in the opening minutes when Sarel Pretorious darted over but the TMO penalised Lloyd Fairbrother for side-entry at the ruck.
The hosts weren't denied for long as, from first phase ball at a scrum, Hallam Amos found space out wide before offloading to Hewitt for an easy score.
Niel Marais reduced the deficit from the kicking tee but Robsen replied with a drop goal and the home side led 10-3 at the break.
The Cheetahs wasted no time at the start of the second half though as Blommetjies burst through a whole after collecting a Dragons clearance and putting Maxwane in the clear.
That try came just 23 seconds into the second half and minutes later, flyhalf Zeilinga stepped and burst through to dive beneath the posts and give the Cheetahs a 17-10 lead.
Maxwane's pace saw him over again on 62 minutes as Marais hacked a loose ball up field and the wing's speed saw him reach the ball first, control the ball and dot down.
Dee gave the home fans some hope when he released the ball at a ruck before picking up and diving over to reduce the deficit on 71 minutes.
But the Cheetahs, third in Conference A, had their bonus point try when man of the match Blommetjies rounded two front row forwards and sped clear for a fine individual score.
Tries: Hewitt, Dee
Cons: Robson 2
Tries: Maxwane 2, Zeilinga, Blommetjies
Cons: Marais 2, Zeilinga
Dragons: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Arwel Robson, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Lewis Evans, 7 Aaron Wainwright, 6 Harrison Keddie, 5 Cory Hill (captain), 4 Joe Davies, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Ellis Shipp, 17 Gerard Ellis, 18 Dan Suter, 19 Max Williams, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Dan Babos, 22 Adam Warren, 23 Jared Rosser.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Niel Marais, 11 Sibhale Maxano, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Erich de Jager, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 Adriaan Coertzen.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Ben Whitehouse, Mike English (Wales)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)