/ 23 April 2010

Cheetahs sneak a draw against the Chiefs

Cheetahs Sneak A Draw Against The Chiefs

The Chiefs’ winless Super 14 season at home continued on Friday as appalling kicking and second half handling errors saw the Cheetahs sneak a 25-25 draw.

The Chiefs scored five tries to three but usually reliable flyhalf Stephen McDonald missed all six attempts at goal and Callum Bruce missed another two, keeping the second-from-bottom South Africans in the game.

In a bid to revive their sagging fortunes, Chiefs coach Ian Foster relegated some of the big names — Sione Lauaki, Brendon Leonard and Richard Kahui — to the reserves bench.

The strategy seemed to be working when home side went into the break with a 20-10 lead, having already secured a four-try bonus point.

But their game lost its focus in the second half due to handling errors and a plucky, if error-ridden, performance by the Cheetahs.

“We had a good game plan and it sort of worked in the first half — in the second half we had too many handling errors which took the pressure off the Cheetahs,” disappointed Chiefs captain Liam Messam said afterwards.

Cheetahs flyhalf Naas Olivier showed the Chiefs how to do it, kicking two penalties and two conversions, while captain Juan Smith led from the front in the forward pack.

Only pride was at stake for the two teams entrenched in the bottom third of the table and both were coming off thrashings last week after the Chiefs lost 49-15 to the Stormers and the Cheetahs fell 45-6 to the Crusaders.

Ever improving Chiefs fullback Tim Nanai-Williams broke through the defence to set up the first try for No. 8 Colin Bourke, and right wing Dwayne Sweeney, prop Toby Smith and Hika Elliott piled on more five pointers in the first 40 minutes.

A penalty, attacking lineout and rolling maul ended with No. 8 Davon Raubenheimer scoring the only first half try for the Cheetahs.

The Cheetahs hit the lead after 52 minutes, following tries to prop WP Nel and inside centre Meyer Bosman.

The Chiefs high-risk game came unstuck when a counter-attack in their own 22 fell apart with an all too common handling error.

Cheetahs outside centre Corne Uys skilfully flicked the loose ball to Bosman, who raced away for an opportunistic try.

Messam snatched the lead back after 61 minutes with the fifth unconverted try, but Olivier drew the Cheetahs level with a penalty six minutes later. — Sapa-AFP