JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Highlanders snatch victory after thrilling comeback

Date

Monthati Molosankwe

Cheetahs 33 Highlanders 36

Shaun Treeby looks to feed the Highlanders' backline.

Shaun Treeby looks to feed the Highlanders' backline. Photo: Getty Images

The Highlanders wiped out a 21-point deficit during the second half to pip the Cheetahs 36-33 Saturday in a Super Rugby thriller.

MATCH STATS

The first time the New Zealand visitors led was in the final minute when replacement fly-half Chris Noakes kicked his second penalty at a silent Free State Stadium.

Highlanders won possession from the resultant kick-off, kept the ball among the forwards until the full-time hooter sounded, and replacement scrum-half Jimmy Cowan belted the ball into the main stand.

As if facing an at-times rampant South African team was not enough, the men from Dunedin were two short for several first-half minutes after hooker Andrew Hore and England flank James Haskell got yellow cards.

Cheetahs replacement fly-half Sias Ebersohn bowed his head and tried to hold back tears after the final whistle as he fluffed a simple penalty attempt just before Noakes snatched victory.

Ebersohn came off the bench on the hour mark when pivot Johan Goosen, who had contributed 18 points, was forced to retire after hurting his shoulder while scoring the Cheetahs' third try that was converted for a 30-9 advantage.

Highlanders hit back with three converted tries to draw level only to fall behind again before nerve-less Noakes slotted penalties on 72 and 80 minutes to keep his team second in the New Zealand conference and fifth overall.

"That was an unbelievable match," said Highlanders loose-head prop and skipper Jamie MacKintosh. "We were bloody awful and indisciplined until we discovered some momentum during the second half.

"I really feel for the Cheetahs, who are a great attacking side, but we felt their defence was a bit narrow so once we started getting our hands on the ball the plan was to go wide and get around them."

Cheetahs hooker and captain Adriaan Strauss found it hard to accept that his team had let a big lead slip and remain 11th on the southern hemisphere provincial championship standings, six points off the last play-off spot.

"I am so disappointed as we had chances to finish the game off when well ahead. We just were not smart enough as the Highlanders started finding space and running at us," he admitted.

Cowan scored two tries and Noakes one for Highlanders, all of which Noakes converted and he added two penalties to the three kicked by fly-half Mike Delany during the opening half which ended with Cheetahs 23-9 ahead.

Leading Super 15 points scorer Goosen raised his season total to 145 with a try, two conversions and three penalties while Ebersohn contributed one conversion and one penalty from five attempts at goal.

Loose-head prop Coenie Oosthuizen and debutant lock Andries Ferreira scored first-half tries for the home team, whose only consolation was a bonus point for losing narrowly.

Cheetahs host struggling Australian outfit Western Force next Saturday while Highlanders travel south to Indian Ocean city Durban for a showdown with Coastal Sharks the same day.

HIGHLANDERS 36 (Jimmy Cowan 2, Chris Noakes tries Noakes 3 cons Michael Delany 3, Noakes 2 pens) bt CHEETAHS 33 (Andries Ferreira, Johan Goosen, Coenie Oosthuizen tries Goosen 2, Sias Ebersohn cons Goosen 3, Ebersohn pens) at Vodacom Park. Referee: Marius Jonker.

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
 

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers