The Cheetahs led 34-10 at half-time and looked in control of the game, but a good comeback by the Chiefs, much like last week against the Bulls in Pretoria, snubbed the hosts of their first victory ever over the Hamilton-based side.
The Cheetahs started well and put the Chiefs under pressure. The visitors infringed at the break down and gave away a penalty, but Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen missed his kick to the right.
Cheetahs scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, sniped through the Chiefs defence for the first try of the afternoon. Goosen converted to give the hosts an early lead of 7-0.
The Cheetahs again attacked and looked dangerous with ball in hand, but the Chiefs regained composure and progressed to the hosts half, claiming a penalty after the Cheetahs infringed. The visitors’ All Black flyhalf Aaron Cruden kicked the penalty with ease.
The Cheetahs were on fire though, and scored the second try of the afternoon in the 13th minute when centre Rayno Benjamin ran through after a good break by Springbok playmaker Willie le Roux.
Goosen again converted to give the Cheetahs a lead of 11 points and stretched that even further by kicking a penalty shortly after.
The Chiefs used the resulting kick off and built some good momentum and August Pulu ran through to score the try, with Cruden converting to reduce the deficit to just seven points.
Goosen again kicked a penalty ten minutes from half time, but it was the nippy scrum half Sarel Pretorius that scored his second try of the afternoon after a good scrum by the hosts.
The penalty awarded after the visitors scrummed illegally was taken quickly by Pretorius and he sneaked through for his second with Goosen converting.
The hosts scored the bonus point try shortly before half time, with flanker Boom Prinsloo going over at the back of a driving maul with Goosen converting to give the Cheetahs a 34-10 lead at the break.
In the second half, Pulu scored his second try of the afternoon in the same scenario as the first, with Cruden again converting.
Goosen again opened up the lead to 20 points by kicking his third penalty of the afternoon, but the Chiefs reduced the deficit through winger Tim Nanai-Williams’ try in the 60th minute.
The visitors again struck with winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma running in for the bonus point after the Cheetahs fell asleep on the defence. Cruden converted to bring his side within eight points. Tikoirotuma scored his second try and Cruden converted as the Chiefs moved within a point of the Cheetahs.
Goosen kicked a penalty ten minutes from full time to open the gap to four points and another three minutes from the end to seemingly cement the game for the Cheetahs, but Nanai-Williams scored and Cruden converted after the hooter sounded to secure the draw.
Points scorers: Cheetahs 43 (34): Tries: Sarel Pretorius (2), Rayno Benjamin, Boom Prinsloo. Conversions: Johan Goosen (4).
Penalties: Johan Goosen (5).
Chiefs 36 (10): Tries: August Pulu (2), Tim Nanai-Williams (2), Asaeli Tikoirotuma (2). Conversions: Aaron Cruden (5). Penalty: Aaron Cruden