CHEETAHS 17, FORCE 13
The Cheetahs edged the Western Force 17-13 in an error-strewn match at Free State Stadium on Saturday.
Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss, the outstanding player in the match, scored what proved the winning try when he crossed the Force line in the 54th minute.
The Cheetahs, trailing 13-9, opted not to kick at the posts three times in quick succession, having been awarded penalties in the Force 22m area.
The home team stretched the lead to 17-13 when flyhalf Sias Ebersohn landed his third penalty goal and a crucial moment came with 18 minutes to go when the Force were awarded a penalty in front of the Cheetahs’ posts.
They opted for a scrum, then conceded a penalty that enabled Cheetahs to kick their way out of danger.
The Cheetahs dominated possession during the first half, but were fortunate to lead 9-6 at halftime.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Force captain and Wallaby flank David Pocock said. “The Cheetahs’ defense was too good. We were disappointed we turned over the ball on their line right at the end.”
“They were good at the breakdowns. Every time we got momentum they stopped us,” Strauss said.