Cheetahs claw back to record big kill on Zebre
Cheetahs ........ 54 Zebre ................ 39
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.