Cheetahs make it one for the history books

Jean_De_Villiers10Burton Francis struck a penalty after the hooter, to hand the Cheetahs a 26-24 victory in dramatic fashion at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The fly-half, who in fact used to be a member of the Stormers, took the kick from just inside the touchline during the final play of the match to give his franchise their fifth win in succession, a record for the Cheetahs.

The Cheetahs have not been very familiar in getting a victory against the Stormers, having only won twice in their past 9 matches against the Stormers, but thanks to Francis’ late kick he handed the visitors their 2nd loss in succession.

The Cheetahs got off to a good start when Robert Ebersohn put the Cheetahs in front early, but the lead didn’t last long as soon after Springbok centre Juan de Jongh scored 2 tries in quick succession to give his team a 15-7 lead at the break.

In the 2nd half with about 30 minutes left to play, the Cheetahs brought on Sarel Pretorius and Coenie Oosthuisen with the team still trailing 15-10.

Pretorius presence was felt immediately by the Stormers when he stole the ball and went all of 40 metres to score in the corner to give the Cheetahs the lead back at 17-15.

Pretorius wouldn’t play anymore part in the match though, as he was taken off for a damaged hamstring before the Stormers regained the lead with two penalty kicks through the boot of Joe Pietersen.

With an hour gone Francis managed to make it a one point game again in the visitors favour with a penalty, and then with 13 minutes to go, hit a monster drop-goal over 40 metres out to give his side a 23-21 lead.

Stormers weren’t done yet though as Pietersen regained the lead for the Stormers making it 24-23 with just over 5 minutes remaining.

Then after the hooter, a penalty was blown by Stuart Berry at the breakdown to give Francis a shot wide out at goal. He made no mistake, and put the crowd into jubilation.

Matthew Nepgen

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