Super Rugby round five
Cheetahs Rhule over Waratahs
March 15, 2013
Robert Ebersohn opened the scoring for the visitors
© Getty Images
New South Wales have slumped to a 27-26 loss to their South African bogey side, the Cheetahs, and Berrick Barnes' latest setback only compounded their misery at Allianz Stadium.
The Waratahs' defeat was their third straight and the Tahs also take a dubious place in the Super Rugby history books as the first team to lose three times in a row to the Cheetahs.
Adding insult to injury, former Waratahs half-back Sarel Pretorius was the architect behind the South Africans' triumph, putting lively winger Raymond Rhule over for the match-winning try 10 minutes from full-time.
A 40th-minute try to centre Adam Ashley-Cooper had given NSW an unlikely 20-17 lead at the break and the Tahs continued to hold sway for most of the second half.
But after dominating possession and territory for the bulk of the match, the Cheetahs eventually broke through to back up their win last week on the road against the Highlanders.
Things looked ominous for the Waratahs from the moment Pretorius dummied and broke clear in the opening seconds of the match.
Centre Robert Ebersohn benefited from a lovely chip and regather from winger Willie Le Roux to score the opening try after just 54 seconds.
The Cheetahs were in again in the 17th minute when Rhule stepped his way over for the first of his two tries and five-eighth Johan Goosen again converted.
The Waratahs suffered another depressing loss, against the Cheetahs (video available only in Australia)%]
Two penalty goals from half-back Brendan McKibbin kept the Waratahs in touch at 14-6 before winger Peter Betham ran a nice line from a lineout win and took a short ball from McKibbin and beat two defenders to score under the posts.
McKibbin's conversion left NSW trailing by a point but, after Goosen added a penalty to nudge the Cheetahs four points ahead, the Waratahs snatched the lead when Ashley-Cooper touched down on the stroke of half-time.
Goosen and McKibbin traded second-half penalty goals before Goosen's conversion of Rhule's second five-pointer restored the Cheetahs' advantage.
Another McKibbin penalty in the 73rd minute reduced the deficit to one point but the Waratahs were unable to bridge it.