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Super Rugby: Piet Van Zyl scores two tries as Cheetahs beat Reds in Bloemfontein
A spectacular brace from Piet Van Zyl inspired the Cheetahs to a 27-13 victory over the Reds in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Rising star Elgar Watts kicked 17 points on his first start for the Cheetahs in an assured performance from the youngster.
Greater accuracy and clinical finishing from the hosts sealed a win that keeps them in touch with the Bulls at the top of the South African Conference and clear of the Sharks and Stormers.
The Reds arrived in Bloemfontein on the back of a rich streak of form, but were second best to a physical Cheetahs side who burst out of the blocks in the first half.
Rod Davies was denied an early score by the TMO but there was no doubt about the Cheetahs opening try though. Bursting into space, Van Zyl glided his way past Quade Cooper to dot down in the left corner.
Watts knocked over his first penalty of the match but three points from the boot of Cooper put the Reds on the board and a second shot at goal minutes later put the visitors right back into the mix at 8-6 down.
Van Zyl then was at it again - a spectacular second try for the lightning scrum-half coming from Heinrich Brussow's inside pass that saw Van Zyl screech for the opposite corner to his first score through the Reds defence.
Two more penalties from Watts either side of the break opened up a 21-6 lead for the Cheetahs as the Reds infringed again, much to the frustration of Ewen McKenzie, although they came close to narrowing the gap when denied not once, but twice by the TMO from close-range.
However, Ben Daley was persistently penalised for his binding at the scrum and it resulted in another penalty for Watts, who added a further three points from on the halfway line minutes later to cap an impressive performance by the young fly-half.
Dogged defence from the Cheetahs meant the Reds seemed destined to leave without crossing the whitewash, but they eventually broke their duck when Ben Lucas dived over in the corner after confirmation from the TMO.
With their spirits rejuvenated chasing the idea of a losing bonus point, the Reds threw in one last attack but it wasn't to be.