The Toyota Cheetahs surged to their fourth win in a row, inflicting more misery on the Melbourne Rebels as they whipped them 34-16 in their Vodacom Super Rugby match in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
It was a new record for the Bloemfontein team, who last week celebrated their most successful tour ever, and have now firmly planted themselves on the road to fight for a spot in the playoffs.
The bonus-point win moves the Cheetahs up past the Bulls and into second spot temporarily in the South African conference, depending on what happens at Newlands later.
For the Rebels, their road of misery continues, after taking 60 points last week and having two team members sent home for their indiscretions, they leave South Africa without a log point being earned in their fortnight on the road.
But back to the home team, who are enjoying their season of attack and played some excellent rugby in the 80 minutes on the park.
While the rain made things difficult, it was hardly a factor for either team, and the Cheetahs simply executed better, looked more in tune and scored when it mattered.
After the opening penalty salvos, James O’Connor snuck the Rebels ahead with a penalty and it was only after the half hour that the Cheetahs finally clicked into gear, a beautiful backline attack moving its way to Johan Sadie who sent Hennie Daniller over to score.
The game was evenly poised at 10-6 at the break, but the Cheetahs took control in the second half, thanks to a sterling break by Robert Ebersohn, beating two players before putting in a magnificent back flip to Raymond Rhule, with the winger sprinting home without a hand being laid upon him.
The Rebels threatened for a brief moment to make a game of it, with O’Connor reducing the deficit a bit with a penalty but a bounce of the ball turned the game against them as they failed to collect an up and under, with Adriaan Strauss snapping up the ball and popping it to Willie le Roux for another opportunistic try.
The Rebels' woes became worse as Luke Jones was sent to the sin bin for a shoulder charge on Le Roux and the Cheetahs immediately took advantage of their numerical superiority with Sadie scoring the bonus point try in the 68th minute.
With the result not in doubt anymore, the Cheetahs played with a lot more freedom, and found space out wide with Rayno Benjamin ghosting in at the corner for their fifth try.
The Rebels scored near the death through Cadeyrn Neville to make the scoreline a lot more respectable but they were never going to get close.
The Cheetahs will face a lot tougher opposition in the rest of the competition, but know they now have momentum, and they can win without Johan Goosen.
Both thoughts will go a long way to making this their best season ever.
Toyota Cheetahs – Tries: Hennie Daniller, Raymond Rhule, Willie Le Roux, Johann Sadie, Rayno Benjamin. Conversions: Burton Francis (3). Penalty: Burton Francis.
Melbourne Rebels – Try: Cadeyrn Neville. Conversion: James O`Connor. Penalties: James O`Connor (3).