; Cheetahs pay heavy price for poor start against Connacht – The Citizen

Cheetahs pay heavy price for poor start against Connacht

Abongile Nonkontwana of Toyota Cheetahs during the Guinness Pro14 match between Toyota Cheetahs and Connacht at Toyota Stadium December 01, 2018 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo by Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images)

Abongile Nonkontwana of Toyota Cheetahs during the Guinness Pro14 match between Toyota Cheetahs and Connacht at Toyota Stadium December 01, 2018 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo by Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images)

Franco Smith’s wayward charges again prove their own worst enemies in the Pro14.

The struggling Cheetahs just could not get their act together in Bloemfontein on Saturday and went down 21-17 to the Irish side Connacht in a Pro14 encounter.

The visitors started off like a house on fire and built up a 15-point lead before the 30-minute mark.

It all started in the seventh minute when centre Tom Farrell showed the Cheetahs a clean pair of heels to score the first try of the match.

Flyhalf Jack Carty converted and also slotted over a penalty in the 21st minute to stretch the lead to 10-0.

Clever play by the Irish saw them score a second try.

Connacht were unstoppable after a line-out maul and lock Gavin Thornbury drove over to put his side in a commanding lead.

The Cheetahs tried their utmost to get back into the game, but mistakes at crucial moments hampered their chances.

The South African side, however, got the scoreboard ticking in the 31st minute when the dangerous fullback Malcolm Jaer out-sprinted the Connacht defence to dot down.

The home side was suddenly playing with much more purpose and put Connacht under great pressure.

The Cheetahs drew even closer when hooker Joseph Dweba scored following a maul.

The Cheetahs had a chance to take 3 points, but decided to use the line-out as a weapon of attack.

This led to Dweba’s try that brought the halftime score to 15-10.

In the second stanza, Connacht piled on the pressure once more and replacement-flyhalf David Horwitz slotted two early penalties to increase his side’s lead to 21-10.

It was clear that the heat was starting to affect the visitors badly and the Cheetahs tried exploiting this situation by increasing the pressure.

Scrumhalf Shaun Venter rounded off a brilliant backline move to score after great work from centre William Small-Smith.

Flyhalf Tian Schoeman added the further two points with the conversion.

The Cheetahs have only won one of their previous nine matches this season and in the last 10 minutes played like a side desperate for success.

They piled on the pressure, but just could not get the desired breakthrough.

The Irish team ended their two-match tour of South Africa with a second win after beating the Kings last week.

Point scorers:

Cheetahs – Tries: Malcolm Jaer, Joseph Dweba, Shaun Venter. Conversion: Tian Schoeman.

Connacht – Tries: Tom Farrell, Gavin Thornbury. Conversion: Jack Carty. Penalties: Carty, David Horwell (2).

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