Cheetahs survive late scare to beat Western Province in Currie Cup clash
The Cheetahs staged a major fightback to down Western Province 28-21 at Cape Town Stadium on Friday afternoon to remain unbeaten in the Currie Cup so far this season.
At one stage of the clash, Western Province looked like they were going to end the Cheetahs' six-match winning streak in the competition as they were leading by 21-7 and in control after 48 minutes.
But a big comeback inspired by a couple of tries from hooker Louis van der Westhuizen saw the Cheetahs claim a bonus-point win in a tightly-contested Good Friday affair.
The other tries for the Cheetahs were scored by Alulutho Tshakweni and David Brits while Tristan Leyds Angelo Davids scored for the hosts.
Western Province, who have a single victory to their name so far this season, had a strong start to the match as they forced the visitors to play most of their rugby in their own half.
The home team pressed the Cheetahs quite hard which led to the away side conceding too many penalties.
In the first 40 minutes, the men from Bloemfontein had at least 10 penalties and a yellow card against them while Province had only three against them.
However, it was the Cheetahs who got off the mark first when Tshakweni crossed the chalk on 14 minutes.
Veteran scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar converted as the away team took a 7-0 lead in their mission to extend their winning run to seven matches and return to the summit of the Currie Cup.
But two penalties from Province’s pivot Tim Swiel saw the hosts narrow the gap on the scoreboard to just one point to make it 7-6 after 24 minutes of play.
The Cheetahs were reduced to 14 men before Swiel's second penalty after Tshakweni was sent to the naughty chair.
Province scored their first try of the match through Leyds and took the lead for the first time in the game.
Swiel’s excellent kicks to the poles in the first half saw Province leading 16-7 at halftime.
The second half of the clash was very eventful with Province scoring their second try through Davids on 43 minutes as they took their lead to 21-7 after Swiel missed his kick for extras.
But the Cheetahs launched a major fightback and scored two quick tries by Van der Westhuizen (on 48 minutes) and Brits (on 51 minutes) which, combined with excellent kicking by Pienaar, took the score to 21-all.
Namibian hooker Van der Westhuizen completed his brace and gave the Cheetahs a lead with only eight minutes left to play on the clock.
The Cheetahs now trail the top-of-the-table Bulls by just a single point, with the men from the Free State lying second with 31 points.
The Bulls, who had their midweek match against the Sharks cancelled due to the floods in KwaZulu-Natal, have played one more match compared to the Cheetahs.
WP: Try: Tristan Leyds, Angelo Davids Conversions: Tim Swiel Penalties: Swiel (3)
Cheetahs: Try: Alulutho Tshakweni, Louis van der Westhuizen (20), David Brits Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (4)
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