Cheetahs maul Brumbies

The Cheetahs bounced back from three bad weeks to run a wild bunch of Brumbies ragged in Bloemfontein on Saturday, winning their Round Seven Super 14 match 38-20.

The Cheetahs, who looked to run everything at the Brumbies from the outset, scored five tries, while the Brumbies replied with three – the third of those coming after the hooter for full-time had already sounded.

This victory, which saw the Cheetahs move into sixth place on the standings, also put their play-off hopes back on the table.

The Cheetahs managed to turn around a dire opening 30 minutes performance into an entertaining display of thrilling rugby that was welcomed with raptures of applause from their home crowd.

The game stood at 0-0 for the most part of the first half only for the Cheetahs to switch on and never look back in a what was a dramatic turn of events for the Bloemfontein-based team.

Both teams were guilty of far too many errors that kept referee Paul Honiss working overtime on his whistle.

The match failed to flow as the stop-start first half encounter was riddled with every error imaginable on a rugby pitch: knock-ons, forward passes, kicks out on the full and missed kicks at goal.

How all that managed to change for the Cheetahs, though things stayed pretty much the same for the hapless Brumbies.

The Australians will be asking themselves how a fantastic display with the rugby ball against the Stormers last week, can turn into a nightmare of an evening seven days later.

The Cheetahs on the other hand turned three winless runs on their home track into a magnificent five-try victory that saw them bag all the points and get their Super 14 campaign on the road again.

Cheetahs scrum-half Falie Oelschig got the ball rolling for his side after diving over the Brumbies whitewash from a quick tap penalty in the 34th minute of the half.

The referee’s whistle awarding the try must have been like an alarm going off for the half-asleep supporters in the stands. But after fly-half Willem de Waal’s conversion (his first successful kick of the match), the crowd never even clicked the snooze button.

The Cheetahs backline certainly made sure of that with some brilliant running with ball in hand that reminded the rest of the competition just how dangerous they can be.

But the reason for the ridiculous amount of ball the backs had to play with was thanks to a phenomenal Cheetahs pack who proved that they too are not to be underestimated by any means.

In fact, the Cheetahs second try came from a quality steal in the line-out from the thieving forwards who then flung the ball wide as the Brumbies backline scampered up in defence. Centre Ronnie Cook went into the tackle only to offload to a flying Bevan Fortuin who drew his man superbly to send wing Gavin Passens over in the corner.

De Waal kicked a beauty of a touchline conversion to put the score at 14-0 and take his team into a late half-time lead.

Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher should have taken some half-time pointers from Cheetahs boss Rassie Erasmus as the difference between the two sides after the break was astounding.

The visitors were left to do battle without their star centre and captain Stirling Mortlock, who didn’t return to the field after taking doing some damage to his hand in the first half.

Whether Mortlock’s presence would have helped or not, we’ll never know as the Cheetahs started the second 40 minutes the same way they ended the first.

The home team played with more composure and confidence, but it was the Brumbies that managed to score the first points of the half.

Fly-half Julian Huxley made sure of his side would get on the board after a well taken penalty kick that flew a good 40 meters after the Cheetahs were blown up for collapsing a scrum.

Any Brumbies comeback was ruled out moments later after athletic hooker Richardt S

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