Highlanders narrowly beat Cheetahs 31-28 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Highlanders narrowly beat Cheetahs 31-28

03/05/2008 08:10:01 AM Comments (0)

The Highlanders scored 20 unanswered points to start the second half and held on for a 31-28 victory over the Cheetahs in a match between two bottom-ranked teams in the Super 14.

Two converted tries and two penalties gave Otago to a 31-14 lead with 20 minutes to go.

But the replacement flanker Hendro Scholtz touched down in the 66th minute, and Otago was reduced to 13 men when lock Tom Donnelly was sin-binned, and flyhalf replacement Blair Stewart joined him for a dangerous tackle.

The Cheetahs rallied with their best attacking period of the match, highlighted by lock Rory Duncan's the try which, when converted by centre Meyer Bosman, pulled them within three points with nine minutes left.

The Highlanders repelled any further attacks, and then gained possession with two minutes left, running out the close with a series of drives around the fringes.

Mike Delany scored penalties to give Otago the early lead, but the Cheetahs responded with tries by centre J.W. Jonker and No. 8 Duane Vermeulen.

The advantage was squandered when replacement winger Adam Bancroft crossed the a try right before halftime to pull Otago within 14-11.

Otago started the second half quickly. Flanker Adam Thompson intercepted a pass to halt a Cheetahs foray 10 meters short of the try line and finished the effort with a sweeping move for a try.

Delany converted and kicked two penalties to stretch the lead, and then he capped his game with a kick through the shallow Cheetahs defense for Bancroft to score his second.

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