Super Rugby - Win secures Cheetahs play-off place

The Cheetahs secured a place in the Super Rugby play-offs for the first time in their history with a comfortable 34-13 win over the Blues in Bloemfontein.

PA Sport
Super Rugby - Win secures Cheetahs play-off place
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Riaan Smit kicked 19 points as the Cheetahs won comfortably

Philip van der Walt, Sarel Pretorius and Boom Prinsloo all scored tries for the home side with Riaan Smit booting 19 points to end a seven-year wait for post-season rugby.

Jamison Gibson-Park recorded an early score for the Blues and Baden Kerr kicked eight points but it was never going to be enough to stop them falling out of play-off contention this season.

It took the Cheetahs just two minutes to get on the scoreboard as the visitors strayed offside and Smit booted a long-range penalty. But their lead was to last only two minutes as the Blues hit back with a try from Gibson-Park. Peter Saili made the break and off-loaded to the scrum-half who went over with Kerr adding the extras.

Smit closed the gap to one point as he slotted a penalty following an infringement at the scrum. The domination continued for the home side and it was no surprise when they took the lead through their opening try on 23 minutes. Number eight Van der Walt gathered the ball of the back of a five-metre scrum and powered over with Smit booting the conversion.

Kerr quickly reduced the deficit with a penalty but the Cheetahs thought they had another try moments later as Willie Le Roux pounced on a chip over the top but the video replay showed he did not ground the ball.

Smit nailed another penalty on the half-hour to re-open the six-point gap before Kerr was wayward with his own effort and Smit continued his perfect record shortly before the break to make it 19-10 at the interval.

The Cheetahs had a second try disallowed 12 minutes into the second half and once again it was Le Roux who was the architect. The wing supplied a pass to Rynard Landman who went over but the video replay showed that the pass had gone forward.

Kerr and Smit exchanged penalties but it was the Cheetahs who were making all the running and their class told as the Blues ran out of steam. With five minutes remaining a Kerr kick was gathered and the ball made its way through the hands of Le Roux, Coenie Oosthuizen and Trevor Nyakane before Pretorius burrowed over from a ruck.

Smit booted the conversion and just three minutes later the Cheetahs had their third try and Prinsloo went over after a lineout to secure a comfortable victory.

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