Cheetahs & Chiefs draw

The Chiefs are still without a win in Super 14 2007, after they drew to the Cheetahs 22-22 in Bloemfontein on Friday.

After leading 16-3 in a dominant opening 30 minutes the Chiefs will be disappointed, but so too the Cheetahs, who missed a flurry of second half opportunities to ultimately lose out on what should have been a gutsy victory from behind.

If a Pyrrhic victory is a victory so costly that it is tantamount to defeat. For the Cheetahs this may be a Pyrrhic draw as they count their losses.

It was a match made thrilling by the tight scoreline and by the resolution of the tattered Cheetahs as they beat back attack after attack by the Chiefs at a stage when they had Ryno van der Merwe at prop, Tiger Mangweni at lock and Kabamba Floors at No.8 in uncontested scrums. These uncontested scrums came about because hooker Adriaan Strauss went off with a dislocated shoulder, Os du Randt with a gammy knee and Dr Jannie du Plessis, doing his own diagnosis, with a painfully pinched nerve. The Cheetahs who are usually well-stocked for front tow players found their larder bare. A minute after Du Plessis went off grimacing, Darren Nel, on the field for a matter of seconds, was helped off with a knee injury. the Cheetah pack had shrunk.

The Chiefs mauled at them and ran at them and somehow they held out, often through Floors’s resilient guile. During this period the Chiefs resorted to muscle, bashing one at a time, even when they went to their backs it was one-off stuff which gave little room to their genius wings, Roy Kinikinilau and Lelia Masaga, the two men most instrumental in causing the Cheetahs all manner of early headaches as they laughed their way past opponents and the Chief sled 16-3 after 31 minutes and the Cheetahs looked as if the hangover performance against the Crusaders was persisting in missed tackles and bumbling.

In this period the Chiefs scored a wonderful try and were actually over the line on another two occasions when the television match official’s advice was Inconclusive. Later as the match wore on the same TMO advised against a Cheetah chance and then ruled inconclusive when Hendro Scholtz battered his way over with his side ahead 19-16.

The Cheetahs scored first when Willem de Waal banged over a penalty, and then the Chiefs took over and were all over the Cheetahs with the assistance of a string of penalties. Even when they managed to set up a close attack they frittered it away with truck-‘n-trailer.

Donald, whose kicking was exceptional, kicked two penalties to give the Chiefs a 6-3 lead after 21 minutes. At this stage the Cheetahs seemed to think that kicking was the best medicine but they were outkicked and then the Chiefs worked magic and turned a kick into a try as they came racing down the left. Masaga started it all by beating five Cheetahs who fell about without touching him. Mangweni. He got a pass away and was there to back up again and beat another two as he crashed over for the try which the TMO recommended. Donald converted, 13-3.

The Chiefs were back and close again when Meyer Bosman knocked on another erratic pass from Michael Claassens. in his own in-goal. that produced a five-metre scrum and an inconclusive decision by the TMO. the referee then went back to the penalty and Donald goaled easily. 16-3.

From the kick-off Cornell van Zyl charged down an attempted clearance by Jamie Nutbrown and Strauss and Nutbrown dived for the ball in the Chiefs’ in-goal. It was a tough decision but the TMO’s advice was that Nutbrown’s had had won the contest. Strauss lost out twice – beaten for the try and his shoulder injured.

A penalty gave the Cheetahs a line-out. They wanted to maul but controlled the ball badly and were throwing awkward passes till Marius Joubert went through a half gap and Mangweni switched with him and beat two tacklers to score near the posts.

When De Waal kicked a penalty on half-time the Che

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