Cheetahs out-muscle Highlanders


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    The Cheetahs recorded their first Super Rugby win of the season with a comprehensive 36-19 win over the Highlanders at Rugby Park in Invercargill on Saturday night.

    The Highlanders, coming off the bye, looked disjointed and not even the return of hooker Andrew Hore from suspension and locking legend Brad Thorn’s first game for the franchise could spark them.

    They struggled for momentum against a superb Cheetahs forward pack, and possibly also missed the influence of All Blacks midfielder Ma’a Nonu, out with a late knee injury.

    Skipper Adriaan Strauss said the win was invaluable, especially looking ahead to next week’s clash across the ditch against the Waratahs.

    “We needed this win – we’ve got a couple of youngsters in the squad and we needed a bit of confidence,” he told Sky TV.

    “I think the guys have that belief now.”

    The Cheetahs ran in three first-half tries, a stark contrast to last week’s 45-3 defeat by the Chiefs when they couldn’t buy a five-pointer, and led 30-7 at the break.

    Halfback and former Waratah Sarel Pretorius opened the scoring at 20 minutes, latching onto a well-timed inside flick from flanker Lappies Labuschagne as he burst down the left wing.

    Stung into action, the Highlanders replied five minutes later when five-eighth Lima Sopoaga’s kick through found winger Kade Poki in perfect position to score.

    From then on, however, Sopoaga’s night careered downhill as he gifted the Cheetahs 14 points with two horrible mistakes.

    The first came on the half-hour mark as he tried to chip over the flat Cheetahs defensive line, only to see second five-eighth Robert Ebersohn charge the kick down and canter over unopposed for the try.

    Pretorius then picked up his second five minutes from halftime, snaffling Sopoaga’s attempted flip to Hosea Gear with the Highlanders hot on attack and running 70m unopposed to touch down.

    Five-eighth Johan Goosen’s boot was clinical in adding the extras, banging over five penalties and three conversions to keep the home team’s hopes of a fightback well under wraps.

    Coach Jamie Joseph benched Sopoaga for All Blacks No.10 Colin Slade three minutes before halftime, and the Highlanders began the second spell promisingly as Poki crossed for his second try after four minutes.

    But the Cheetahs defence regrouped and held strong, and not even Poki’s third try of the night, coming after he sliced through four tackles in the 73rd minute, could put the final result in doubt.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (66)

    • Roar Guru

      March 10th 2013 @ 9:17am
      Jiggles said | March 10th 2013 @ 9:17am | ! Report

      Excellent performance by the Cheetahs who got off the line fast in defence.

      So the NZ conference is 1 – 3 in cross conference games. I thought they were supposed to be the strongest? Mind you the Blues should win this arvo.

      • March 10th 2013 @ 6:50pm
        TembaVJ said | March 10th 2013 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

        sorry jiggles…. bulls won too

        • Roar Guru

          March 10th 2013 @ 7:54pm
          Jiggles said | March 10th 2013 @ 7:54pm | ! Report

          So the strongest conference is 1 – 4…… Hmmm

          • March 10th 2013 @ 8:16pm
            katzilla said | March 10th 2013 @ 8:16pm | ! Report

            No one in NZ said it was the strongest conference. That came from outsiders.
            On the basis of what we’ve seen, surprising South African width is going to blow this competition apart.
            Although put the Chiefs at home against the Saffa teams and i’d give them a slight edge.

            • Roar Guru

              March 10th 2013 @ 8:35pm
              Jiggles said | March 10th 2013 @ 8:35pm | ! Report

              Haha ok no kiwis have been saying that…

            • March 10th 2013 @ 8:40pm
              Jerry said | March 10th 2013 @ 8:40pm | ! Report

              Plenty of people did say it, Katzilla. And with some evidence based on the last couple of seasons.

              I’ve always said it’s a cyclical thing, but there’s no doubt the NZ conference has been stronger the last couple of seasons. And while jiggles & temba may be loving getting their sledging in, it’s too early to say whether it won’t be again.

              For a start the argument was never as simple as “All our teams are better than all yours”, it was “We’ve got no easybeats and you do, which means your good teams get an unfair advantage”. And even last season it was clear that it applied more to the Aus conference with two, possibly three, easybeat teams while the SA conference only really had one (the Cheetahs performed well against overseas opposition last season).

            • March 10th 2013 @ 11:36pm
              Hightackle said | March 10th 2013 @ 11:36pm | ! Report

              I said it was and it is.
              The only reason those NZ teams lost is becuz in Dec some of them had the norovirus and that knocks you around for months.

          • March 11th 2013 @ 1:04am
            ohtani's jacket said | March 11th 2013 @ 1:04am | ! Report

            Not sure why Kirwan made so many changes with a bye next weekend. The Chiefs picked up two points, which if they beat the Kings next weekend will give them a pretty decent haul from South Africa. Don’t worry, Jiggles.

            • March 11th 2013 @ 10:54am
              winston said | March 11th 2013 @ 10:54am | ! Report

              It was a strange move from Kirwin considering the strength of the Bulls. And what was Luatua thinking running at the sideline on thier last possession. Despite this hump on the weekend I have no doubt come the end of the season it will be pretty clear the NZ is still the strongest conference.

              Though the Cheetahs have thrown a real spanner in the works.

          • March 11th 2013 @ 6:48am
            richard said | March 11th 2013 @ 6:48am | ! Report

            Well,it may be that some people were saying we had the strongest conference.But that would have been based on the games up to this weekend.

            Having seen the Australian teams in action,we’ll see how your teams go.Frankly,other than the Brumbies,the rest have been ordinary.Don’t be too surprised if the Australian teams suffer the same fate as ours.

      • March 10th 2013 @ 8:36pm
        Justin2 said | March 10th 2013 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

        All quiet from the kiwi brethren jiggs, god only knows the posts if they were Aussies losing so much in one weekend.

        • March 10th 2013 @ 8:41pm
          Jerry said | March 10th 2013 @ 8:41pm | ! Report

          To be fair, anyone saying this weekend disproves the argument would have to have completely missed the point in the first place.

          • March 10th 2013 @ 9:06pm
            Justin2 said | March 10th 2013 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

            I don’t know what the point is Jerry but its a bit of fun for the weekend for us bashed up Aussies…

            • March 10th 2013 @ 9:23pm
              Jerry said | March 10th 2013 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

              I don’t even believe it’s that big of an issue, but the amount of people that don’t even seem to understand a pretty basic concept (more crap teams means more easy points for the good teams in weak conferences) but still think they’ve got something to say about it…well, it doesn’t surprise me (it’s the internet after all) but it does get a bit frustrating.

    • March 10th 2013 @ 10:14am
      nickoldschool said | March 10th 2013 @ 10:14am | ! Report

      Just watched the Stormers v Chiefs game and was the match of the round so far! These saffa teams can play! If the Bulls also have a go this arvo we should get a great match of rugby.

      One of the big differences i have seen between SA/NA teams and Oz teams, is that their forwards often try to offload when tackled. It just speeds the game. Last night, on a couple of occasions, I saw Robinson get tackled and not offloading despite having a team mate next to him. he clearly saw him but didnt want to take the risk to drop the ball. Ok they formed a ruck, got the ball etc, but the Brumbies were back in defence. I think Brumbies and Reds with Gill to some extent are trying to speed the game and link forwards/backs play. Tahs clearly not doing it yet.

    • Roar Guru

      March 10th 2013 @ 12:48pm
      Rusty said | March 10th 2013 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

      Well done Cheetahs! Some fortuitous tries created from the in the face defence but they did have the Landers on the backfoot for most of the match with the level of intensity in the tackle. I hope this marks the point of their renaissance

    • Roar Guru

      March 10th 2013 @ 1:07pm
      Mantis said | March 10th 2013 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

      Could be another embarrassing night for the Tahs next week if this Cheetahs side shows up. Sarel will come back with a point to prove…

      • March 11th 2013 @ 8:44am
        Red Kev said | March 11th 2013 @ 8:44am | ! Report

        The Cheetahs’ backrow was immense against the Highlanders, I think they’ll destroy the Waratahs.

    • March 10th 2013 @ 1:54pm
      ohtani's jacket said | March 10th 2013 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

      The Cheetahs were the most fun team to tour New Zealand last year and it was cool to see them reproduce that in Dunedin.

      • Roar Guru

        March 10th 2013 @ 5:27pm
        Kane said | March 10th 2013 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

        It was in Invercargill

        • March 10th 2013 @ 7:19pm
          ohtani's jacket said | March 10th 2013 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

          Ha, it’s all the same to an Aucklander.

          • March 10th 2013 @ 11:34pm
            Hightackle said | March 10th 2013 @ 11:34pm | ! Report

            Yep, Auckland tends to lose no matter where it is so its all the same I guess.
            Just kidding.

    • March 10th 2013 @ 2:51pm
      Winston said | March 10th 2013 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

      Bulls are looking the better team ATM

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