It was so very, very easy for the Cheetahs as they outplayed and outscored Ulster in Bloemfontein, with only two lesser points of criticism for the home side who have now scored 111 points against 40 and 16 tries to six in their two outings against two of last season’s PRO14 semi-finalists.
This time it was Ulster who simply had no answer to the glorious running, speed, handling and support of a team that will take some stopping in this competition. The score was 63-26 and the victory could have been much, much bigger if the home side showed more resolution in the last quarter in their defence and were they not a little selfish with players who tried to force tries when they had support in a scoring position once the Ulster gates had opened.
But all in all, it was a glorious effort and the Cheetahs are now the target of all as they put their stamp on the competition. Nine tries, including a penalty try against four of which two were too easily obtained, tell the story.
Anthony Volmink was Man of the Match for his hat-trick, but there were so many others who shone against a side that was already shell-shocked by halftime when they trailed 7-28.
Cheetahs (28) 63: Tries: Anthony Volmink (3), Rhyno Smith (2), Joseph Dweba, Louis Fouche, Reinach Venter, penalty try. Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (6), Tian Schoeman (2)
Ulster (7) 26: Tries: Sam Carter, James Hume, David Shanahan, Craig Gilroy. Conversion: John Cooney (3).
Southern Kings vs Munster
The Kings, on the other hand, still need their breakthrough to get their season underway. It seemed like they were intent on playing territorial rugby although they looked good with ball in hand, and Masixole Banda in particular showed the way.
They lost their second home match when they were beaten by Munster, 31-20.
Granted, the Kings are still a side in the making, but they have a good set of backs – and once the team as a whole gels they could become a real factor in the competition.
However, they were ahead for only seven minutes of the match on Saturday when they scored the first of their two converted tries just after the break to lead 13-10.
The Kings never looked like the better side, but it was again an 18-minute three-try blitz by Munster’s Alby Mathewson, Fineen Wycherley and Arno Botha after the 52nd minute that put the home side out of contention with their second ty coming only three minutes from time – too late to add a try for a losing bonus point.
Southern Kings (6) 20: Tries: Stefan Ungerer, Elrigh Louw. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (2), Penalty: Catrakilis (2).
Munster (10) 31: Tries: Mike Haley, Alby Mathewson, Fineen Wycherley, Arno Botha. Conversions: JJ Hanrahan (4), Penalty: Hanrahan (1).