The Cheetahs’ fine form in the PRO14 continued on Friday evening when they thrashed the Ospreys 44-25 in Bloemfontein for their third win in a row in the competition.
The Cheetahs lost their first two games, but are now on a roll, putting six tries past the Welsh side that have now lost four in a row.
The Cheetahs scored first after No 8 Oupa Mohoje had put his team in a good attacking position with a storming break down the blindside, and from a resulting lineout drive, hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld went over.
Flyhalf Ernst Stapelberg missed the conversion, but made up for it soon after with a well-taken penalty and after 10 minutes the home side were 8-0 up.
As the game hit the 20-minute mark, the home side scored a spectacular try.
The in-form wing Makazole Mapimpi made a clean break and outpaced the cover defence and when he was tackled, there was inter-passing between supporting players before Van Jaarsveld had a free run to the posts for his second try.
The Neath side were stung into action and a few minutes later scrumhalf Rhys Webb darted over after a solid set scrum near the Cheetahs’ line, with fellow Welsh international Dan Biggar converting to narrow the score to 15-7.
The Cheetahs were under pressure when Mohoje was penalised for a high tackle.
The kick to the corner and resulting series of rucks allowed Biggar to thread a grubber into the in-goal area, where Kieron Fonotia pounced for the score. The conversion made it a one-point game at 15-14 with 10 minutes to halftime.
Three minutes before the break, the Cheetahs gave away a crucial penalty at a ruck and Biggar struck it home to give his side a 17-15 lead after having been 0-15 down.
Remarkably, the Cheetahs struck back on the stroke of halftime when the Ospreys fluffed the restart and the Cheetahs seized possession in the red zone, with Mapimpi eventually diving over in the corner from a series of phases.
Stapelberg nailed the conversion from the touchline.
The Cheetahs’ discipline had been poor in the first half and it continued in the second half, and it resulted in not only territory for the Ospreys but also a penalty goal by Biggar 10 minutes into the half.
Stapelberg cancelled out those points with a superb 46m penalty when the Welsh were penalised for a high tackle; and then the Cheetahs were handsomely rewarded when they turned down an easy three points for a kick to the corner.
The forwards rumbled over from the lineout, with flank Paul Schoeman awarded the try.
The lead was suddenly 32-20 with a quarter of the match to go. But the Cheetahs’ discipline continued to let them down, and Van Jaarsveld was yellow-carded because of repeated infringements, opening the door for an Ospreys comeback.
However, it was the Cheetahs that would score next, and a spectacular try it was too. From a set scrum, scrumhalf Tiaan Meyer hoisted the ball towards the corner flag and Mapimpi leapt into the air to gather and crash over in the corner.
The score was 37-10 with nine minutes remaining.
The Welshmen bounced back with a try in the corner by fullback Dan Evans to give themselves hope, but that was crushed when centre Francois Venter capped a fine performance with a try after the hooter.
Cheetahs 44 – Tries: Torsten van Jaarsveld (2), Makazole Mapimpi (2), Paul Schoeman, Francois Venter. Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg (3), William Small-Smith (1). Penalties: Stapelberg (2).
Ospreys 25 – Tries: Rhys Webb, Kieron Fonotia, Dan Evans. Conversions: Dan Biggar (2). Penalties: Biggar (2).
African News Agency (ANA)