Cheetahs fall short against the Scarlets in Wales
LLANELLI – The Toyota Cheetahs went down fighting 17-13 against the Scarlets in their second Guinness PRO14 tour match on Saturday night when wet and windy conditions resulted in an error-ridden game for both teams.
The defeat marked back-to-back losses for the side, although they were able to secure bonus points from both matches on tour so far.
It was a tightly-fought first half in which both sides ran hard on attack and defended with intent, and the scoreboard reflected this with the Scarlets leading 14-7 thanks to their two tries to one by the Toyota Cheetahs.
The second half was much tighter, with the Free Staters opting for two penalty goals and the Scarlets slotting over one, which saw the home side edge through for the narrow 17-13 victory.
The Toyota Cheetahs scored the first points of the match in the 13th minute compliments of a fantastic try by captain and scrumhalf, Tian Meyer, who gathered a perfect chip kick from Benhard Janse van Rensburg (centre).
This was cancelled out nine minutes later by Scarlets winger, Steff Evans, who celebrated his 100th appearance for the team with a try after receiving a sharp pass from a lineout to touch down, and the successful conversion levelled the scores at 7-7.
Both teams continued to show determination on attack, but a combination of the solid defence and mistakes at crucial times in the wet weather denied them valuable momentum.
The hosts, however, broke through for their second try two minutes before halftime as Kieran Hardy (scrumhalf) used his pace to dash through from a pick-and-go, which saw them take a 14-7 lead.
The Toyota Cheetahs struck first in the second half with a penalty goal by Tian Schoeman three minutes after play resumed, and that proved to be the only points of the third quarter as the rain poured down, which made things tough for the teams.
Ruan Pienaar (scrumhalf) kicked the team’s second penalty goal of the half in the 67th minute to close their deficit to one point, but this was cancelled out almost immediately as Dan Jones (Scarlets flyhalf) kicked his first three-pointer in the match.
With neither team able to add to the score in the dying minutes, the Scarlets held on for the valuable home win.
Scarlets 17 (14) – Tries: Steff Evans, Kieran Hardy. Conversions: Dan Jones (2). Penalty Goals: Dan Jones.
Toyota Cheetahs 13 (7) - Tries: Tian Meyer. Conversions: Tian Schoeman. Penalty Goals: Tian Schoeman, Ruan Pienaar.
African News Agency (ANA)