Mon, May 28, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Cheetahs hold on to edge the Waratahs in tryfest

AFP, BLOEMFONTEIN

The Central Cheetahs held on during a tense finish to pip the New South Wales Waratahs 35-34 on Saturday in a nine-try Super Rugby match.

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

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

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

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.

The tryfest began after four minutes with flanker Dave Dennis punishing sloppy defending to dot down and lock Sitaleki Timani went over two minutes later.

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

The Waratahs regained the initiative in the latter stages of the opening half with outside center Rob Horne and Timani going over to put the visitors 31-21 in front.

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

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