Cheetahs give Auckland dose of the blues - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cheetahs give Auckland dose of the blues

By Allan Williams 02/05/2010 05:49:24 AM Comments (0)

Lowly South African rugby outfit Central Cheetahs ended the Super 14 semi-finals ambitions of New Zealand opponents Auckland Blues with a 36-32 victory on Saturday.

A Blues side lacking injured skipper and hooker Keven Mealamu needed a bonus-point win to retain any hope of making the knockout phase and must have fancied their chances against rivals who had won just twice in 10 outings.

But the Cheetahs scored a try 150 seconds into the first half at Vodacom Park and when they fell behind midway through the second half, quickly regained the lead for a deserved triumph.

While the Blues collected two bonus points and climbed above Waikato Chiefs of New Zealand and Coastal Sharks of South Africa, they are seven points off the fourth play-off place with just two rounds of the Super 14 left.

Cheetahs, second last above Golden Lions of South Africa before facing the Blues, rose one place above Western Force of Australia, who visit Bloemfontein next weekend.

"We were sharp today and it paid off. This result proved that we are a quality side although injuries have cost us dearly this season," Cheetahs flanker Juan Smith said.

Blues acting captain and number eight Jerome Kaino conceded that any hope of snatching a place among the last four vanished in the pleasant autumn conditions of this central city.

"There were too many mistakes by us, but hats off to the Cheetahs for capitalising on our errors. We have been too inconsistent this season," confessed Kaino.

Trailing 22-13 at half-time, the Blues moved five points ahead, approaching the three-quarter mark of an always lively encounter watched by a small crowd thanks to tries from wing Rene Ranger and scrum-half Alby Mathewson.

However, the five-point advantage lasted barely a minute before blood-bin replacement forward Philip van der Walt dived over between the posts and another try from Waltie Vermeulen pushed Cheetahs nine points clear.

Wing Anthony Tuitavake dotted down at the other end four minutes from full-time, but fly-half Stephen Brett failed to convert and a stoppage-time assault petered out in midfield.

Smith, wings Jongi Nokwe and Bjorn Basson, Van der Walt and Vermeulen crossed the line for the Cheeetahs while fly-half Naas Olivier kicked conversions and a penalty and centre Meyer Bosman two conversions.

Centre Isaia Toeava, Ranger, Mathewson and Tuitavake were the Blues try scorers with Brett converting three and kicking two penalties for the three-time champions.

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