Posted on Thursday, 07 Jan 2019
Photo credit: INPHO
The Toyota Cheetahs got the new year off to a winning start in the Guinness PRO14 on Sunday as they held their nerve in a testing encounter against Zebre Rugby Club in Parma for a pleasing 27-12 victory.
The win marked their third victory in their last five matches – a good change of fortunes for coach Franco Smith and his team after a slow start to the season. The win, which was spurred on by a Benhard Janse van Rensburg double, was even sweeter as the side were fresh off a four-week festive season break.
The Toyota Cheetahs got off to a good start against Zebre Rugby Club with Janse van Rensburg and Rabz Maxwane crossing the tryline in the first 22 minutes to take a 12-0 lead.
The hosts, however, hit back with two tries in three minutes in the second quarter thanks to their pace out wide and solid support play, which allowed them to level the scores at 12-12 going into halftime.
The Toyota Cheetahs struck first after the break with Janse van Rensburg scoring his second try of the day thanks to the team’s patience on attack and ability to work their way over the advantage line.
Reinach Venter added the bonus point try with four minutes to go, and Daniel Maartens added another three minutes later, with both tries being scored from rolling mauls while the hosts were reduced to 14 men.
While Franco Smith and his charges will be delighted with the 27-12 victory, they will look to sharpen up their finishing this week after missing out on several try-scoring chances close to the tryline.
In the other matches, Benetton pipped the Glasgow Warriors 20-17 in Treviso, Ospreys defeated the Cardiff Blues 20-11 in Swansea, Leinster registered a comprehensive 40-7 win against Ulster in Dublin, the Scarlets beat the Dragons 22-13 in Llanelli and Connacht went down 31-24 against Munster in Galway.
Zebre Rugby Club – Tries: Edoardo Padovani, Giulio Bisegni. Conversion: Carlo Canna.
Toyota Cheetahs – Tries: Benhard Janse van Rensburg (2), Rabz Maxwane, Reinach Venter, Daniel Maartens. Conversion: Tian Schoeman.
Edinburgh – Tries: Dougie Fife, Darcy Graham (2), Rory Sutherland, Simon Berghan, Cameron Fenton. Conversions: Simon Hickey (4).