Connacht down Cheetahs
Brenden Nel
November 04, 2017

Connacht produced a more controlled performance in wet and slippery conditions to condemn the Toyota Cheetahs to their third straight defeat against Irish sides in the Guinness Pro 14, winning 23-15 on Saturday night.

The Cheetahs were never really in the game as the home side recorded their third win in this year’s competition and led from start to finish as the scoreline eventually flattered the visitors.

The Cheetahs fought back in the second half, but on many occasions they were beaten to the breakdown and struggled to put phases together, with a number of handling errors ruining their attacks against a very disciplined Irish side.

The result will be a disappointment for Rory Arnold as his Cheetahs side continue to try and push for a playoff spot, but will take some solace out of the last 20 minutes of the game.

Still, this was a night where little went right for the Cheetahs as they struggled to impose themselves and were often on the receiving end of the referee's whistle with Connacht bossing the breakdown.

The Cheetahs' tactical kicking was also off on the night, and played into the Connacht side’s hands with some poor handling of the conditions.

Connacht opened the scoring early through a penalty through Craig Ronaldson and were further rewarded with a sparkling try by Niyi Adeolokun, who burned Luther Obi on the outside after the Cheetahs winger gave him too much space on defence.

The Connacht winger opened the taps and was gone, leaving Obi with grass burns as he lay spread-eagled on the floor having missed the tackle.

Ronaldson added a second penalty to stretch the lead to 13-0 before Fred Zeilinga finally got the Cheetahs on the board through a penalty.

The Cheetahs struggled throughout the opening period of the second half to put attacking phases together and went further down when Tom McCartney drove his way over for Connacht’s second try and a 20-3 lead.

The Cheetahs fought back, first through a well-worked outside break by Shaun Venter to score, and then through a quick penalty tap that put Makazole Mapimpi away for a try.

But they were never in with a chance of winning, especially as Steve Crosbie’s penalty – which raised the score after Venter’s try – put the game beyond them.

Connacht – Tries: Niyi Adeolokun, Tom McCartney. Conversions: Craig Ronaldson (2). Penalties: Ronaldson (2), Steve Crosbie.

Toyota Cheetahs – Tries: Shaun Venter, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga. Penalty: Zeilinga.

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