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Heartbreak for Tahs as Cheetahs run down deficit in second-half

Date

Cheetahs 35 Waratahs 34

Riaan Smit of the Cheetahs looks for support as Drew Mitchell and Rob Horne close in.

Riaan Smit of the Cheetahs looks for support as Drew Mitchell and Rob Horne close in. Photo: Getty Images

The Cheetahs held on during a tense finish to pip the Waratahs 35-34 on Saturday in a nine-try Super 15 match.

MATCH STATS

The bonus-point victory for the South Africans was particularly sweet as they have lost out in several close endings to southern hemisphere provincial championship games this season.

In space ... Berrick Barnes.

In space ... Berrick Barnes. Photo: Getty Images

Waratahs will be upset at a second narrow loss on tour, especially as they scored two tries within seven minutes of the kick-off to open a 14-point lead and were 34-21 ahead in the second half.

A feature of a lively encounter was the excellent place kicking with neither Cheetahs fly-half Riaan Smit (four attempts) nor Waratahs scrum-half Brendan McKibbin (six) missing a shot at goal.

Traditional masters of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Cheetahs halted a run of four losses in five matches as the strength of tight-head prop WP Nel and speed of left wing Willie le Roux delivered second-half tries.

Sarel Pretorius of the Waratahs playing against his former team.

Sarel Pretorius of the Waratahs playing against his former team. Photo: Getty Images

Smit and his replacement, Sias Ebersohn, converted the scores to give the home team a one-point lead they successfully defended for 22 minutes until the final whistle sounded.

"It was great to win after a disappointing first-half showing. We did some tough talking at half-time and it paid off," said Cheetahs hooker and skipper Adriaan Strauss.

Waratahs' loose-head prop and stand-in captain Benn Robinson replied: "It was a very unhappy outcome for us after scoring those early tries. We have a lot of areas to work on."

Sitaleki Timani of the Waratahs wins a line-out.

Sitaleki Timani of the Waratahs wins a line-out. Photo: Getty Images

A relief for the Australians was that Wallaby wing Drew Mitchell came through his first appearance for the team in more than a year unscathed after lengthy ankle and hamstring injury lay-offs.

The try fest began after four minutes with flanker Dave Dennis punishing sloppy defending to dot down and lock Sitaleki Timani went over two minutes later before a small, vocal crowd in the central city.

Smit converted tries from scrum-half Piet van Zyl and Le Roux to restore equality before McKibbin kicked a penalty and Strauss intercepted a blindside pass and raced over for a converted try and a 21-17 advantage to his side.

Waratahs regained the initiative in the latter stages of the opening half with outside centre Rob Horne and Timani, again, going over to leave the visitors 31-21 in front by the break.

McKibbin stretched the lead with his second penalty, but they proved the final points for the Sydney side as Cheetahs crossed the tryline twice within four minutes for a second consecutive victory over the Waratahs.

CHEETAHS 35 (Willie Le Roux 2, WP Nel, Adriaan Strauss, Piet van Zyl tries Riaan Smit 4, Sias Ebersohn cons) bt NSW WARATAHS 34 (Sitaleki Timani 2, Dave Dennis, Rob Horne tries Brendan McKibbin 4 cons 2 pens) at Vodacom Park. Referee: Craig Joubert.

AFP

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all
 

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