Chee­tahs claw back to record big kill on Ze­bre

Chee­tahs ........ 54 Ze­bre ................ 39

The Rugby Paper - - Guinness Pro14 -

IT was touch and go for a mo­ment, but the Chee­tahs – with two tries apiece from Maka­zole Mapimpi and Torsten van Jaarsveld – even­tu­ally sub­dued Ze­bre to claim a bonus-point win and get their PRO14 cam­paign up and run­ning.

Ze­bre were am­bi­tious in at­tack early on and it paid dividends as they raced to an 11-point lead. Carlo Canna kicked two penal­ties be­fore Ge­orge Bi­agi landed a third blow with a well­worked try.

The Chee­tahs needed to score next to stay in the con­test and they did so in some fashion, land­ing 19 unan­swered points.

From a kick re­turn, Luther Obi ran the ball back, drew two de­fend­ers and then sent Mapimpi fly­ing down the touch­line to score. A con­tentious yel­low card to David Sisi for lead­ing with the arm re­duced Ze­bre to 14 men and the Chee­tahs dot­ted down twice in that pe­riod through Wil­liam Smal­lSmith and Obi.

There would be an im­me­di­ate re­sponse from Ze­bre when flanker Jo­han Meyer pow­ered over. Canna’s con­ver­sion meant his side trailed 19-18 at the break.

The se­cond half was more fre­netic and open than the first.

Mapimpi com­pleted his brace and, when Ze­bre con­ceded an­other yel­low card to Bi­agi for col­laps­ing the maul, Van Jaarsveld barged over from close quar­ters for the Chee­tahs’ next two tries, al­though Mat­tia Bellini scored in-be­tween the hooker’s dou­ble.

The last 20 min­utes were chaotic as the both teams added two fur­ther tries to their tally, with Ze­bre hav­ing the fi­nal say. But for all in­tents and pur­poses, the game had al­ready been won by the Chee­tahs.

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