Nutshell: Horrible tackling floors Cheetahs

Cheetahs prop Ox Nche had some barnstorming runs. Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images.

Cheetahs prop Ox Nche had some barnstorming runs. Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images.

Franco Smith’s troops simply can’t stop the high-flying Crusaders as the gulf in class between the sides becomes very much apparent.

The Cheetahs missed tackles left, right and centre in losing 48-21 to the rampant Crusaders in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

As always, the home side showed some teeth on the attack but they simply tackled too poorly to stay in this game.

Who was the star of this match?

The Crusaders had various stars in their backline but fullback David Havili was imperious. His two tries were well deserved though it was his outstanding playmaking ability that stole the show. Cheetahs prop Ox Nche was impressive in broken play.

Key themes and events

  • There’s a very simple reason why the Cheetahs conceded so many points. Defensive lines in Super Rugby aren’t necessarily all that tight anymore but the men from Bloemfontein missed an astonishing 43 tackles. Statistically, they missed almost every second tackle. Not good enough.
  • The Cheetahs’ game could’ve turned out differently if they weren’t the victims of a poor TMO decision. From a ruck, mobile prop Ox Nche burst through two tackles and then off-loaded superbly to wing Sergeal Petersen, who scored. But bafflingly, TMO Johan Greeff saw a forward pass. That try could’ve reduced the Crusaders’ led to 14-15. Instead, winger George Bridge scored immediately after that.
  • While they did face obliging opponents, there were times when the Crusaders were put under pressure by the hosts. A more organised opponent could’ve exploited some soft moments on defence but their skill in attack remains, at times, astounding.
  • There wasn’t many scrums in this open game yet the Cheetahs lost two of their three feeds. A team that wants to attack like them needs a better platform.

Point scorers

Crusaders – Tries: George Bridge (3), David Havili (2), Richie Mo’unga, Mitchell Drummond. Conversions: Mo’unga (5). Penalty: Mo’unga.

Cheetahs  – Tries: Raymond Rhule, Ox Nche, Sergeal Petersen. Conversions: Niel Marais (2).

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