Cheetahs stun Hurricanes
South African side claim victory after hosts blow 21-point lead
Last Updated: 31/03/12 12:52pm
Coenie Oosthuizen: Scored two tries in Cheetahs victory
The Cheetahs claimed a rare victory on New Zealand soil by beating the Hurricanes 47-38 in an entertaining Super Rugby clash in Wellington.
Both sides had secured the four-try bonus point by half-time after a back-and-forth opening 40 minutes which saw too many players for both teams miss tackles.
Dane Coles, Beauden Barrett, Andre Taylor and TJ Perenara crossed for the hosts prior to the break, while Andries Strauss, Hennie Daniller, Ryno Benjamin and Coenie Oosthuizen got on the board for the South African side.
The second half was a much more muted affair as the Cheetahs controlled territory and possession, with two further tries from Oosthuizen and WP Nel came from a solid scrum and rolling maul rather than passing moves.
But it was enough to secure victory and consigned the home side, who managed just two penalties from Barrett in the second half, to a second successive home loss.
That was a major disappointment after the Hurricanes had earlier raced out to a 32-11 lead, with Coles getting the ball rolling in just the third minute by stepping away from full-back Daniller to score by the posts.
Johan Goosen and Barrett traded penalties before the Cheetahs' centre Strauss was awarded the visitors' opening try by video referee Ben Skeen despite seeming to lose the ball forward over the line.
A frenetic period followed as the home side saw Barrett, Taylor and Perenara all cross the line, with all three coming from turnover ball and were almost length-of-the-field scores.
Coles stripped the ball from a Cheetahs player virtually on his own goal-line to set up Barrett's score, with Taylor running strongly to halfway before Charlie Ngatai kept the movement going before Daniller took over and raced under the posts.
Taylor was next on the scoreboard in the 28th minute, making a steal in his own 22 before finding James Broadhurst, who linked with Faifili Levave before the full-back finished off in style in the corner.
Perenara's try three minutes later got the Hurricanes out to a 21-point lead, Karl Lowe this time getting the turnover before Julian Savea made the break and the young half-back finished the move off.
Having got themselves into such a commanding position, the Hurricanes blew their comfortable advantage with costly penalties and poor defending.
Firstly, Brad Shields was penalised for hands in the ruck in his own 22 and Piet van Zyl took a quick tap and Daniller was put over in the corner for the Cheetahs.
Then a Goosen break left the Hurricanes defence scrambling before the ball was spun out wide to the right and winger Benjamin dotted down.
And on the stroke of half-time the Cheetahs were back on level terms when prop Oosthuizen burrowed over from close range.
An arm injury meant Shields did not return after the break and he was replaced by Jack Lam, while Goosen kicked a penalty to give the visitors the lead.
A Barrett penalty got the Hurricanes back on level terms, but coach Mark Hammett again turned to his bench bringing on the more experienced Chris Eaton for Perenara and Motu Matu'u on for Coles.
It made little difference as the Cheetahs took control of the game, with a huge scrum from the visitors allowing prop Nel to force his way over just before the hour mark.
The arrival of Daniel Kirkpatrick for Savea forced a reshuffle in the Hurricanes back line which saw Barrett shifted to full-back and Taylor out on to the wing and the switch seemed to unsettle them.
Cory Jane then wasted a great opportunity when he fended off Oosthuizen and Le Roux only to lose the ball with the line begging after all the hard work had been done.
And the home side were made to pay when the South Africans cut through the Hurricanes defence with a huge rolling maul which eventually gave Oosthuizen his second try of the night to round things off.