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Cheetahs race past Blues in Bloemfontein to seal play-off spot
The Cheetahs ran in three tries as they registered a convincing 34-19 victory over the Blues in the penultimate round of Super Rugby fixtures in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Scores from Philip van der Walt, Sarel Pretorious and Boom Prinsloo were enough to see the hosts to victory as they eased their way past their New Zealand opponents.
Victory takes the Cheetahs to 54 points and subsequently secures their place in the end of season play-offs for the first time in the history of the franchise.
The hosts were on the scoreboard in the opening two minutes as fly half Riaan Smit slotted home a three-pointer.
Sir John Kirwan's side hit back immediately however, when Peter Saili broke through the Cheetahs backline before finding Jamison Gibson-Park who raced in the opening try of the match with Baden Kerr adding the extras to give the Blues a 7-3 lead.
The Cheetahs enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening exchanges which culminated with Smit dissecting the posts once again before Van der Walt reached over the line off the back of a scrum as the hosts regained the advantage.
Kerr added another penalty before his opposite number responded with two more successful kicks from the tee as the Cheetahs went into the break with a 19-10 lead.
Both sides came out firing after the restart with breaks from Blues winger Rene Ranger and Cheetahs centre Johann Sadie both threatening opposition defences, but ultimately to no avail.
It was Blues fly half Kerr who registered the first points of the second period from the kicking tee before Smit hit back again with a penalty for the Cheetahs.
Naka Drotske brought on scrum half Pretrious midway through the half and it proved to be an inspired move when the 29-year-old raced home a second Cheetahs try as daylight started to emerge between the sides.
Reluctant to settle the Cheetahs continued on the offensive and found their way through the Blues defence once again as Prinsloo touched down the final score of the game as the Cheetahs sealed the tie and a place in the Super Rugby play offs.
The result now means the Sharks, Blues, Waratahs and Stormers are out of the running to make the knock-out stages.
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|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Bulls|
|17:10||Stormers vs Sharks|
|Friday 13th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Blues|
|11:00||Western Force vs Melbourne Rebels|
|Saturday 14th March|
|03:30||Crusaders vs Lions|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Waratahs|
|08:40||Reds vs Brumbies|
|13:00||Stormers vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Sharks|
|Friday 20th March|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Hurricanes|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Lions|
|Saturday 21st March|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Cheetahs|
|15:05||Bulls vs Western Force|
|17:10||Sharks vs Chiefs|
|Sunday 22nd March|
|05:05||Waratahs vs Brumbies|
|Friday 27th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Melbourne Rebels|
|09:00||Reds vs Lions|
|Saturday 28th March|
|05:30||Chiefs vs Cheetahs|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Stormers|
|08:40||Waratahs vs Blues|
|15:05||Sharks vs Western Force|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Lions 19 - 22 Stormers|
|Bulls 43 - 35 Sharks|
|Melbourne Rebels 15 - 20 Brumbies|
|Chiefs 40 - 16 Crusaders|
|Friday 27th February|
|Cheetahs 25 - 24 Blues|
|Western Force 13 - 42 Hurricanes|
|Highlanders 20 - 13 Reds|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Sharks 29 - 12 Lions|
|Stormers 27 - 16 Blues|
|Reds 18 - 6 Western Force|
|Highlanders 20 - 26 Crusaders|
|Friday 20th February|
|Bulls 13 - 17 Hurricanes|
|Melbourne Rebels 28 - 38 Waratahs|
|Chiefs 19 - 17 Brumbies|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Waratahs 13 - 25 Western Force|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Bulls 17 - 29 Stormers|
|Sharks 29 - 35 Cheetahs|
|Blues 18 - 23 Chiefs|
|Friday 13th February|
|Lions 8 - 22 Hurricanes|
|Brumbies 47 - 3 Reds|
|Crusaders 10 - 20 Melbourne Rebels|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com