It was not a walk in the park for Canon Jaguars as they beat BDF Cheetahs 36-24 in a tightly contested Super Rugby clash at LKC ground on Saturday though Jaguars’ young guns proved too fast for the aging Cheetahs.
The hosts went to a break leading 12-10. A few minutes after break, Cheetahs were on attack through Ketshidile Matenanga who wanted to capitalise on a try that was scored by China Sengwatse in the first half. Despite a head injury, Matenanga continued making good runs. But it was difficult to penetrate the opponents’ backline.
The referee blew for a scrum a few metres inside Cheetahs goal area in the 52nd minute. Jaguars’ left wing, Stanley Chikuma scored a try to extend the lead to 17-10 after a conversion was not scored. Jaguars’ players continued to make it hard for Cheetahs to play their normal physical game and on the 58th minute, right flanker, Masego Moalosi got a try and Kaelo Serojane converted to extend the lead to 24-10. Cheetahs made some changes and the fresh legs seemed to add impetus as they started to pile pressure on Jaguars. The hosts were on the scoreboard again in the 66th minute. The 29-10 lead was impossible for Cheetahs to reach. Scrum half, Ishmael Pelaelo scored last try for Jaguars and Eddie Ernest answered for Cheetahs getting the last try with 10th left before full time. Shamonga James had a good game scoring the penalties they were awarded.
Cheetahs coach, Kabo Batsile told Sport Monitor that they had many scoring opportunities but failed to utilise them because of poor decision-making.
“We played a loose game which was favourable to Jaguars because they had speed and could counter-attack quickly. My players needed a tight game. When the ball went to the other side, instead of going there to support, they just watched the game. My players were slow to react and because it was a fast game, they kept resting at wrong places,” he said. Batsile said because they were stuck in the middle, that is why Jaguars had to score two tries outside. He said moving forward, they needed to beef up the backline especially fullback and two full backs. For his part, Jaguars coach, Andrew Paxinos said the game plan was to put the ball in hand and did not want to kick too much.
“We wanted to keep Cheetahs under pressure and I am happy with the win. The challenge was officiating. The referees are battling and they do not have qualified touchline judges who can officiate at this level. I hope during the semifinals and finals we have qualified referees from either South Africa or Zimbabwe,” Paxinos said.