The Cheetahs ran in four tries as they completed an impressive 34-22 victory against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The Kings enjoyed the strongest start as they worked through the phases and pushed into Cheetahs territory. Cheetahs prop Coenie Oosthuisen entered the ruck from the wrong side to concede a penalty to the Kings which subsequently put the hosts in the lead thanks to the boot of Demetri Catrakilis.
Cheetahs opened their tally when the Kings committed the same offence at the breakdown in their own half with Elgar Watts slotting home a three-pointer. Parity was short-lived however as Kings fly-half Catrakilis added six points in 10 minutes.
The visitors came to the fore midway through the first period with some creative play in the midfield before a Cheetahs scrum brought another set piece which Watts successfully converted. With neither side able to maintain discipline the Kings re-established a six-point lead with Catrakilis on target once again.
Cheetahs responded with more pressure on the Kings defence which eventually paid dividends when Willie le Roux found Johann Sadie who raced over the line to score the first try of the match which Watts converted to give the visitors a narrow 13-12 lead at the interval.
Alan Solomons' Kings returned from the break with a sense of urgency as they charged into Cheetahs territory before earning a penalty when Francois Uys was deemed to be off his feet at the ruck. Catrakilis restored the Kings lead taking his tally to 15 for the day.
The Kings reign was abruptly ended as the Cheetahs moved through the gears with Piet van Zyl on hand to slip through the defence and touch down a second try for the visitors. Watts sealed the conversion to give the Cheetahs a five-point advantage.
Patience continued to be a virtue for the Cheetahs as they displayed good ball retention at the breakdown before Sadie found space on the wing to run in his second try of the match as the Kings defence was exposed. With the ball touched down under the posts it was a regulation conversion for Watts as the Cheetahs strengthened their hold on the match.
Having played the role of supplier for the majority of the match Le Roux took centre stage in the second period when he ran in a bonus point try for the Cheetahs after Sadie danced his way through a faltering Kings defence before Watts added a further two points.
The match was all but over when Nicolas Vergallo raced through the Cheetahs defence to touch down with just seconds left on the clock. George Whitehead added the conversion before the siren sounded to end the game with the Cheetahs running out 34-22 victors.
The bonus point victory temporarily elevates the Cheetahs into fourth in the Super Rugby standings with the Reds in action against the Stormers later in the day.