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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.
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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