/ 28 March 2008

Waratahs hang on to beat Cheetahs

Australia’s New South Wales Waratahs survived a late fightback from South Africa’s Cheetahs to win their Super 14 clash 23-19 at the Sydney Football Stadium on Friday.

The Cheetahs, who are yet to win a match this season, threatened to pull off an upset when they scored 12 unanswered points in the second half to cut the margin to a point, before the Waratahs kicked a late penalty to consolidate their lead.

The result provided the Australians with their fourth win from six matches and kept them in touch with the top four at the halfway stage of the competition.

”We tried to go out there and play with intent. That’s what everyone’s been telling us we have to try to do, so we tried to do that,” Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie told reporters.

”We tried to express ourselves. It wasn’t without fault. But, if we can develop our ability to play the game in different ways, we’ll be better for it.”

The Waratahs made a strong start to the match, racing to a 10-0 lead inside the first quarter after a try by wing Lachie Turner off a Phil Waugh intercept.

The Cheetahs hit back with a try by lock David de Villiers but the home side scored a second try from Wallaby flanker Rocky Elsom to lead 20-7 at half-time.

The Cheetahs scored twice in the second half, through wing Jongi Nokwe and replacement forward Flip Van Der Merwe, to close the gap to a point with 10 minutes to go before Kurtley Beale landed his third penalty to seal the win. — Reuters