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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

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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