Toyota Cheetahs v Edinburgh
Edinburgh succumbed to the pace and power of the Toyota Cheetahs in the heat and altitude of Bloemfontein this evening on their first trip to the Southern Hemisphere.
Despite a Sam Hidalgo-Clyne inspired comeback in the second half, it wasn’t enough to shut out the Free State side who curtailed the capital club’s winning streak to five games.
After the game, Head Coach Richard Cockerill said: "It was our first visit to the Southern Hemisphere so we're breaking new ground.
"We know the Cheetahs are a good side. We got a bit outmuscled in the later stages and we were little a bit inacurrate in the first half to concede two pretty soft tries.
"It was good to come back, and the game was in the balance, but I think the bench for Cheetahs made big difference - we just ran out of a little bit of steam.
"I was pleased with the effort the players put in and I'm pleased with the battle we showed, but in the end we just weren't good enough."
The home side started the match spritely as they sought to protect the Toyota Stadium’s fortress reputation having only leaked one loss there so far in their debut Guinness PRO14 season.
As the first quarter ticked away, Jason Tovey was handed the first opportunity to go for goal, but he pulled his penalty wide. (0-0)
When the hosts earned a penalty of their own six minutes later, Fred Zeilinga was also off target as he saw his effort ping back off the post.
It wasn’t long however, until they crossed for their first of five tries. Clayton Blommetjies’ neat grubber was picked up by fullback Craig Barry who burst through at lightning pace to cross in the corner. Zeilinga converted. (7-0)
The home side then doubled their lead before the close of the half, as No.8 Rynier Bernardo crashed over, Zeilinga once again adding the extras. (14-0)
Half-time score: Toyota Cheetahs 14 - 0 Edinburgh
With Jason Tovey leaving the field just before the break due to a knee injury, Jaco van der Walt took to the field for his debut and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne came to Edinburgh’s rescue.
An early penalty put the visitors on the board before the scrum-half sniped round the back of the breakdown to dot underneath the posts.
He duly converted his own try before slotting a second penalty two minutes later to register 13 points in just six minutes. (14-13)
As the game sat in the balance, with just a point between the two sides, Edinburgh started to unravel.
Cheetahs lock Carl Wegner narrowly missed out on the chance to get his side back on the ascendancy, but he knocked on as he stretched for the line.
Despite an entirely new Edinburgh front row, the Cheetahs then drove Edinburgh back over their line from a five-metre scrum, Junior Pokomela with the finishing touch. Zeilinga again added the conversion. (21-13)
The Cheetahs went into top gear as Edinburgh flagged and the clock ran down. Makazole Mapimpi finished off a slick passing move to crash over in the corner, whilst replacement Tian Meyer put the icing on the cake as the hooter sounded. Zeilinga converted for the fourth time. (33-13)