Untidy Hurricanes too strong for hapless Cheetahs.

The Hurricanes stayed in touch with the Super 14 leaders with a bonus point 29-12 win over the luckless Cheetahs at Yarrow Stadium on Saturday.

Coming off the back of an inspiring win against the formidable Crusaders last week, the Hurricanes were well below their best but were never fully tested by the bottom-of-the table Cheetahs.

The four-try victory gave the Hurricanes their third win and lifted them to joint second midway through the fourth round.

The Cheetahs, four games into an arduous six matches on the road, are still without a win but the result could have been much closer had they been able to make their passes stick.

Four times they dropped the ball with the tryline in sight.

They also punished the Hurricanes at the lineout with David de Villiers and Flip van der Merwe taking 11 against the throw, including three after All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore came on for the final 25 minutes.

But the Hurricanes, for all their problems, never looked like losing after Tamati Ellison punched through a gaping hole in the Cheetahs backline for a try right on half-time for the home side to lead 17-5 at the turn.

After an opening 17 minutes marked by errors on both sides, Piri Weepu broke the scoring drought with a simple penalty in front of the posts.

Seven minutes later Hosea Gear crossed for the first of his two tries when he was set up by Conrad Smith and ran 20 metres unopposed to the line.

But the lineouts continued to be a problem from the Hurricanes and they paid the price 30 minutes into the game when they lost their own throw and then let Cheetahs halfback Sarel Pretorius dart through the pack to score.

After Ellison’s try gave the Hurricanes an impressive 12-point lead at half-time, the Cheetahs came back immediately after the restart with their second try.

Cashing in on turnover ball, impressive flanker Wayne van Heerden raced to the line with Hurricanes halfback Alby Mathewson, diminutive in comparison, fruitlessly clinging to his jersey.

Jacques-Louis Potgieter’s conversion narrowed the gap to 17-12 and that was to be the end of their scoring as the Hurricanes came back with Gear’s second try, an 80-metre sprint down the blind side, and another for replacement prop John Schwalger.

The Hurricanes can now rest up with a bye next weekend while the Cheetahs play the Blues.

Sapa-AFP Super14.com

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