Dominant Cheetahs smash Sunwolves
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: A dominant display by the Cheetahs' pack of forwards ensured the platform was set to eventually smash the Sunwolves 47-7 in Tokyo on Saturday.
The Cheetahs took a 14-0 lead into the half-time break before running in a further five tries to eventually claim the massive, morale-boosting bonus-point victory.
Uzair Cassiem (two), Niell Jordaan, Niel Marais, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Tian Meyer and Sergeal Petersen dotted down for the visitors while Sam Wykes' converted try was the only joy the Sunwolves felt in the 80 minutes.
Cheetahs dominated the opening quarter and spent much of their time inside the Sunwolves' half. However, overzealousness plagued them as they could not convert the dominance into points on the board.
They managed to take the lead in the 18th minute when Uzair Cassiem finally managed to hold onto the ball long enough to crash over the line and dot down. Neil Marais added the extras to ensure a 7-0 lead.
The match continued in the same vein for the remainder of the half, with handling errors and erratic passes curtailing the Cheetahs' momentum. The Sunwolves were struggling to get possession and were forced to play off the back foot for most of the half.
The Cheetahs finally managed to extend their lead on the stroke of half-time when Niell Jordaan dotted down in the corner after a lengthy period of pick-n-goes by the remainder of the pack. Marais added his second conversion to ensure a 14-0 half-time lead.
The visitors got the perfect start to the second half when they attacked from the outset and Neil Marais rounded off a flowing move that displayed the Cheetahs' offload game. He failed with the conversion though but the lead was increased to 19-0 after 43 minutes.
The Sunwolves finally got their hands on the ball for long enough to launch a meaningful attack and they found immediate reward. The ball was taken through a number of phases as they bashed their way into the Cheetahs' defensive line.
Sam Wykes spotted a gap and went over to get the home side on the board. Yu Tamura added the easy conversion to see them trail 7-19 after 48 minutes.
The Sunwolves had their tails up from that point and the game became a closer tussle to that of the first half. The home side were creating more opportunities with the possession they had but were unable to cut into the deficit any further.
They were made to pay for that in the 69th minute when a flowing Cheetahs attack ended with Cassiem trotting over in the corner for his second of the game. Marais' conversion took the lead to 26-7.
The Cheetahs extended their lead soon after as they once again broke down the Sunwolves' defence. After a few phases, Cassiem offloading to captain Torsten van Jaarsveld, who had the easiest of scores next to the upright. Marais slotted the conversion to ensure a 33-7 lead after 72 minutes.
Cheetahs were unstoppable from that point as they broke away from inside their 22 to set up Tian Meyer for the team's sixth try. The forwards put in the hard work to break through the Sunwolves' defence before Meyer was put through a massive hole by Cassiem to dot down under the uprights. Marais' conversion took the lead to 40-7 after 77 minutes.
A strong scrum in the middle of the field after the final hooter ensured a simple set-play that was rounded off by Sergeal Petersen, who grabbed a deserved try. Francois Uys, in his final tour match with the Cheetahs, stepped up to nervously slot the conversion and bring an end to a dominant performance.
Man of the match: Yu Tamura's tactical kicking, when he had the chance, showed the threat the Sunwolves could pose. Harumichi Tatekawa attempted to spark something on the rare occasion he had the ball while Kotaro Matsushima showed enough to be a threat. Retshegofaditswe Nche had a strong all-round game while Shaun Venter controlled the tempo of the game until he hobbled off. Clinton Swart was causing a few problems for the Sunwolves with strong carries and Sergeal Petersen made a nuisance of himself. Flyhalf Niel Marais kept his backline going and read the game with ease. Our man of the match goes to someone who worked tirelessly throughout the encounter, set up two tries and scored two of his own - Uzair Cassiem.
For the Sunwolves:
For the Cheetahs:
Tries: Cassiem 2, Jordaan, N Marais, van Jaarsveld, Meyer, Petersen
Cons: N Marais 5, Uys
Sunwolves: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Takaaki Nakazuru, 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa (captain), 11 Shota Emi, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 6 Malgene Ilaua, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Kotaro Yatabe, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Keita Inagaki.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Hino, 17 Koki Yamamoto, 18 Yasuo Yamaji, 19 Hitoshi Ono, 20 Shokei Kin, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Jumpei Ogura, 23 William Tupou.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Uzair Cassiem, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain), 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Niell Jordaan, 21 Junior Pokomela, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Fred Zeilinga.
Referee: Will Houston (Australia)
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Akihisa Aso (Japan)
TMO: Minoru Fuji (Japan)