GLASGOW – The Cheetahs were ultimately well-beaten 37-23 by the Glasgow Warriors in a PRO14 match at the Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow on Friday night.
The steady, icy rain hardly suited the Bloemfontein team and they had to adapt to a war of attrition that was no problem for a home side accustomed to the conditions.
The Glaswegians indeed looked to be in control of the early proceedings, yet it was the Cheetahs that scored first, a stunning against-the-run-of-of-play try.
The visitors had won a turnover over near their tryline, and wing Malcolm Jaer found himself clear for a length-of-the-field try in the 10th minute.
Flyhalf Niel Marais kicked the conversion.
The Warriors struck back soon after, though, with wing Niko Matawalu breaking through the Cheetahs’ midfield for a fine solo try. The Adam Hastings conversion locked the score at 7-7 after 15 minutes.
The home side continued to do the majority of the attacking and it was not a surprise when fullback Ruaridh Jackson capitalised on the pressure on the Cheetahs with a grubber through the defence in their red zone that was collected for the score.
The try went unconverted, but Jackson was on target with a penalty in the 35th minute to give his side a 15-7 lead.
Crucially for the Cheetahs, they won a penalty in front of the Glasgow posts in the 39th minute and Marais made no mistake to narrow the deficit to five points.
And that became just two points five minutes into the second half when the Cheetah’s won a set scrum penalty for Marais to goal.
The Cheetahs spent close to 10 minutes resolutely defending their line before inevitably conceding a penalty that Glasgow kicked to the corner instead of taking the easy three points.
And their boldness was rewarded when tighthead prop Siua Halanukonuka scored off the back of the lineout drive.
The conversion attempt was unsuccessful by Jackson and that was all the more telling when a minute later, Marais kicked his third penalty to make it 20-16 to the home side 15 minutes into the second half.
But the dangerous wing Matawalu again broke the Cheetahs’ midfield defence to set up a try for George Horne.
This time Jackson was on target and at 27-16, with a quarter of the match to go, the Cheetahs were up against it.
But the visitors were up for the fight, and clean lineout ball in the Glasgow 22 was spread quickly wide for Clayton Blommetjies to finish neatly in the corner.
Marais converted only for Jackson to respond with a penalty, and with 10 minutes to go a fine try by Henry Pyrgos, plus the conversion, put the game beyond the Cheetahs at 37-23.
Cheetahs 23 – Tries: Malcolm Jaer, Clayton Blommetjies. Conversions: Niel Marais (2). Penalties: Marais (3).
Warriors 37 – Tries: Niko Matawalu, Ruaridh Jackson, Siua Halanukonuka, George Horne, Henry Pyrgos. Conversions: Adam Jackson (3). Penalties: Jackson (2).
African News Agency (ANA)