Toyota Cheetahs 48-14 Glasgow Warriors

The Toyota Cheetahs proved too strong for Glasgow Warriors in their opening match of the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14, running in seven tries to claim a 48-14 victory in Bloemfontein.

Joseph Dweba and Rhyno Smith each crossed for a brace for the South African side, with Nick Frisby and Robbie Nairn replying for the Warriors.

It was the home side that struck for the first try of not only the match, but the Guinness PRO14 season. An overthrown lineout in the Glasgow 22 handed the Cheetahs possession, and the home side took full advantage. Rhyno Smith’s half-break created the space for Ruan Pienaar to collect the offload and cross, the scrum-half converting his own score for a 7-0 lead after as many minutes.

The Cheetahs scrum-half added a penalty to his tally just three minutes later, as the home side looked to add points at every opportunity. With Glasgow struggling to hang on to the ball, the early play was all being made by the hosts.

Their early dominance was rewarded with a second try on 22 minutes, with an early contender for try of the season. Broken play in midfield saw a gap open up for Joseph Dweba, and the Cheetahs hooker needed no second invitation – pinning his ears back from 40 metres, the front-rower showed footwork and pace more akin to a back three player to race over for the score. The conversion from Pienaar was once again on target, and the hosts led 17-0.

Glasgow knew they needed to score next, and score next they did just before the half-hour mark. A set-piece move from a scrum on halfway saw Rory Hughes boot the ball down the tramlines and into the Cheetahs 22. Bruce Flockhart, on early for Andrew Davidson, showed great desire to get a despairing foot on the ball to re-direct it from its route to touch and into the in-goal area, allowing Nick Frisby to pounce on the loose ball for the try. Brandon Thomson added an excellent conversion from out wide, and the Warriors were on the board.

Yet just four minutes later, the home side struck back. Once again it was Dweba to touch down, as a powerful maul proved too tough to stop from five metres out. Pienaar’s extras gave the hosts a 24-7 lead, a score that remained until the interval.

The second half began in much the same vein as the first, as the Cheetahs came roaring out of the blocks. They were met by some robust Glasgow defence, however, with Tim Swinson, Oli Kebble and Flockhart all to the fore with some thunderous hits.

There was a moment of club history on the 47 minute mark; in replacing Nick Frisby, Jamie Dobie became the first player born after the millennium to pull on a Glasgow Warriors shirt in competitive action. The Inverness-born scrum-half looked lively throughout, bringing a spark to proceedings as Glasgow sought a route back into the match.

Indeed Dobie was involved in Glasgow’s second try ten minutes after the interval – well-won lineout ball allowed the youngster to find Thomson, who shimmied his was through a gap before being snared by the Cheetahs defence. The fly-half had the presence of mind to offload to the onrushing Robbie Nairn, however, who crashed over underneath the posts to touch down. A simple conversion presented no challenge for Thomson, and the gap was back to 10 points.

The home side found an immediate riposte, however. Second-rower Walt Steenkamp found a gap in the Glasgow defence and galloped through, before finding Smith with the scoring pass for the Cheetahs’ bonus-point score. Pienaar added the extras, and the home side were in command.

Their hold on the game was further strengthened just after the hour mark, as a flowing backs move inside the Glasgow 22 and some superb handling culminated with Junior Pokomela touching down out wide despite the best efforts of Glenn Bryce. Pienaar was off-target for the first time in the match, but the hosts looked secure.

Just three minutes later, the result was put beyond the Warriors. A turnover midfield saw Pienaar dink a box-kick in behind the Glasgow defence, with Smith showing lightning pace to outstrip the scramble defence and touch down. The conversion took the score to 41-14, much to the delight of the home crowd.

There was to be one final try for the home side, and once again Smith was at the heart of the action. The full-back’s break and offload allowed Sias Koen to race home, despite the best efforts of Ruaridh Jackson. With Pienaar off the pitch, Tian Schoeman assumed the kicking duties but could only nudge the conversion wide of the posts.

A difficult night for the Warriors on the high veldt, then – the focus for Rennie and his side will now shift to their opening home match of the new campaign, against the Scarlets at Scotstoun in just a week’s time.

live commentary 6:05 PM Friday 27 Sep 2019

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Kick-off 6:05 PM

Cheetahs

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