Tian Schoeman scored 18 points to hand Toyota Cheetahs a hard-fought win over Dragons in South Africa.
It was an attritional first forty minutes, with Henco Venter driving over to take the lead before Taine Basham got one back after half time for Dragons.
Despite the visitors being in the game for an hour, Shaun Venter and Schoeman went over in quick succession to put Cheetahs firmly ahead, before Louis Fouche got the bonus point and Sibhale Maxwane added a late fifth.
Schoeman got the first points with a penalty, before Josh Lewis leveled the score half an hour in with a strike of his own from the tee.
It looked as though the two would go into the break all sqaure, but Venter managed to power over from close range on the stroke of half time.
Schoeman added the extras to make it 10-3 after 40 minutes in a tight encounter.
Dragons came racing out of the changing rooms and got the second half off to the perfect start, Basham muscling his way over following a spell of pressure from the visitors.
Lewis slotted the conversion to again pull Dragons level.
Not long after, Johannes Coetzee was sent to the bin for repeatedly pulling down the scrum and Lewis nailed the resulting penalty to give Dragons the lead for the first time.
But Cheetahs responded well, with Venter sniping off the back of a driving maul to evade the covering defender and dive over.
Schoeman made it 17-13 with the conversion as the hosts looked to hold on to their lead with a man down.
The fly half then added a third score for Cheetahs, stepping inside to crash over after great work and patience from the forwards to make ground.
Schoeman converted his own score and the South Africans put their foot to the floor.
Fouche was next to get on the scoreboard after Cheetahs turned over the ball in the scrum and some quick hands released the substitute to trot in, before Maxwane intercepted late on for an easy run in and the hosts’ fifth try.
Cheetahs – Tries: Henco Venter, Shaun Venter, Tian Schoeman, Louis Fouche, Rabz Maxwane. Conversions: Schoeman (5). Penalty: Schoeman.
Dragons – Try: Tain Basham. Conversion: Josh Lewis. Penalties: Lewis (2).
Thanks to PRO14
|April 13, 2019||19:35||80'|
|Free State Stadium|
|Team||Losing Bonus Point||Penalty||Tries||Conversions||4 TRY BP||Points||Outcome|