BLOEMFONTEIN – The Cheetahs’ hot PRO14 form on home soil continued on Friday night when they emphatically beat Edinburgh 33-13 in the Free State capital.
The Scots were in the game until they ran out of legs not long after halftime, and the Cheetahs then finished strongly for a five-tries-to-one, bonus-point win.
Edinburgh dominated the opening quarter, but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard after a missed kick at goal and a number of kicks to the corner that the Cheetahs were able to defend.
And on the half-hour mark, it was the home side that registered the first points when fullback Clayton Blommetjies brilliantly nudged a grubber through the defence for Craig Barry to gather and score. Flyhalf Fred Zeilinga added the conversion.
Blommetjies was again the creator, just before halftime when he scythed through the Edinburgh backline near the halfway line, and from a series of rucks near the tryline, the ball was sped out to the touchline by centre William Small-Smith where he found Rynier Bernardo unmarked at the corner flag.
Zeilinga was once more on target with the conversion for what would be a 14-0 halftime lead.
The visitors scored the first points of the second half when scrumhalf Sam Hidalgo-Clyne nailed a penalty after the Cheetahs had been caught not releasing the ball at a ruck.
And the nippy Hidalgo-Clyne was at it again a few minutes later when he darted over from a solid set scrum.
His conversion of his own try made it 14-10, and it was 14-13 two minutes later when the scrumhalf punished the home team for an infringement in their red zone.
But the Cheetahs fought back, and it was No 8 Junior Pokomela that went over from a strong set scrum near the Edinburgh line, with the conversion making it 21-13.
The Cheetahs sealed the game six minutes from time when wing Makazole Mapimpi finished off an attacking movement, which had Small-Smith making the telling offload in the tackle.
As the fulltime hooter sounded, replacement scrumhalf Tian Meyer added the fifth try.
Cheetahs 33 – Tries: Craig Barry, Rynier Bernardo, Junior Pokomela, Makazole Mapimpi, Tian Meyer. Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (4).
Edinburgh 13 – Try: Sam Hidalgo-Clyne. Conversion: Hidalgo-Clyne (1). Penalties: Hidalgo-Clyne (2).
African News Agency (ANA)