Cheetahs beat a third semi-finalist in fine farewell for coach Franco Smith

Cheetahs beat a third semi-finalist in fine farewell for coach Franco Smith

The Cheetahs continued on their merry way and beat the third of last season’s four PRO14 finalists with a resounding five tries to one score of 40-16 in Bloemfontein on Friday night.

Played three, won three, a full house of 15 log points and 22 tries against seven. That is the record of the Cheetahs after their last PRO14 home match for 2019. They play Connacht, their third Irish opponent of the season, away in their next match on 26 October.

Friday night’s 40-16 win against Munster was not as free-flowing as the first two against Glasgow and Ulster. Despite their 12 players in Ireland’s World Cup squad, Munster had a resolve Ulster, who were beaten 63-26, and Glasgow (48-14) didn’t have.

Cheetahs nevertheless dominated up front where hooker Joseph Dweba was again outstanding. He also scored his fourth try of the competition from a driving maul for which the pack as a unit must get the credit.

♦ The stronger opposition forced more errors into the Cheetahs game, the Munster defence was better organised and the home side came off a narrow 12-9 halftime lead to gradually stretch the score to 33-9 with a further three tries added to the halftime brace.

Munster’s only try came through some sloppy defence by the Free Staters who made up for it with Rhyno Smith who ran in their sixth with the game’s last play.

♦ The big win was a good send-off for coach Franco Smith who as director of rugby and coach helped to forge this team into a free-running unit that plays attractive – and now also winning – rugby after a good foundation laid by former coach Rory Duncan.

Smith is now off to Italy to take over the reins as head coach. He has covered for new coach Hawies Fourie, who has been recovering from an operation and will now have his first session in charge with the side this week.

♦ It is Cheetahs’ first-ever win over Munster in the Guinness PRO14 and means Smith hands over the reins to Fourie with the South African outfit top of Conference B.

Scorers –

Cheetahs (12) 40: Tries: Ox Nche, Junior Pokomela, William Small-Smith, Joseph Dweba, Jasper Wiese, Rhyno Smith. Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (4), Tian Schoeman.
Munster (9) 16: Try: Dan Goggin. Conversion: JJ Hanrahan. Penalties: Tyler Bleyendaal (3