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Cheetahs outmuscle Lions 35-26 in Currie Cup clash

Ruan Pienaar during the Carling Currie Cup 2021/22 match between Emirates Lions and Toyota Cheetahs at Emirates Airline Park on the 06 May 2022. Pictutre: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Ruan Pienaar during the Carling Currie Cup 2021/22 match between Emirates Lions and Toyota Cheetahs at Emirates Airline Park on the 06 May 2022. Pictutre: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published May 6, 2022

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Johannesburg - The Cheetahs clawed their way back in their Currie Cup encounter against the Lions to secure a 26-35 win and extend their winning run.

It was the unbeaten side’s second-half display that helped them to victory over the struggling Lions, who have now slumped to their ninth loss in the competition.

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The Lions opened the scoring when Stean Pienaar cut through the Cheetahs defence to run in the opener. Tiaan Swanepoel made quick work of the straightforward, under-the-uprights conversion to add the extras and take the score to 7-0.

Fifteen minutes in, Swanepoel stretched the hosts’ early lead with a penalty conversion (10-0).

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The Lions extended their points advantage to 13-0 early in the second quarter when Swanepoel shot a massive one through the posts again, and a few minutes later, the Cheetahs got over the line by Gideon van der Merwe. Veteran Ruan Pienaar made it a full-point try with his conversion to take it to 13-7 at the 26th minute.

The visitors struck again after 10 minutes with a converted score by Marnus van der Merwe (13-14) to give the Free State team the lead for the first time in the fixture.

At the break, right in the hooter, the Johannesburg side made it 20-14 with a score by Lindo Nchsane, and they had the first say in the second 40 as well when Swanepoel took it to 23-14 in the 46th minute.

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The Cheetahs responded with a penalty (23-17), but Swanepoel ensured that the lead remained with the hosts when he connected another one (26-17).

After a converted Duncan Saal try (26-24), the Cheetahs went ahead with another penalty at (27-26), which sparked the team who is all about turning a game around in the second half.

The visitors sealed the deal when replacement hooker Louis van der Westhuizen scored a converted try from a rolling maul to give the Cheetahs a 32-26 lead with just four minutes remaining, and another Pienaar penalty secured the Cheetahs a 35-26 victory.

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Scorers:

Lions 26 (20) - Tries: Stean Pienaar, Lindo Ncusane Conversions: Tiaan Swanepoel (2) Penalties: Tiaan Swanepoel (4)

Cheetahs 35 (20) - Tries:  Gideon van der Merwe, Marnus van der Merwe,  Duncan Saal,  Louis van der Westhuizen Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (3) Penalties: Ruan Pienaar (3)

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