Cheetahs vs Force: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

The Western Force fought back to almost steal victory in Bloemfontein but it was the Cheetahs who managed to hold on. What did we learn from the match?

Haylett-Petty leads by example

He almost single-handedly won the match for the Western Force off the back of his two tries, 209 run metres and two turnovers won. Full of confidence after debuting for the Wallabies last month, Dane Haylett-Petty has shown just how important he is to this young Force side in the years to come.

That comeback

Going into halftime the Force were down by 17 points after a late penalty to the Cheetahs but the Force flicked the switch and came out of the sheds to score 19 unanswered points to and take the lead with just five minutes remaining. They were unable to hold that lead but the fight they showed in the comeback is something we haven’t seen much of in 2016.

Lance returns

It’s been over three months since Jono Lance played rugby, having torn his pectoral muscle in the early stages of the season, but his presence has been missed. Named to start at flyhalf in his return match, it was a tough initation for the former Red and Waratahs utility, being on the end of a solid hit in the early stages of the match. While he was nowhere near his best, he’ll be better for the run heading into the final two matches of the season.

Wessels fills the void 

It’s always hard for an interim coach to step into the role as it’s usually under tough circumstances. Michael Foley and the Force parted ways just two weeks ago, leaving Dave Wessels to coach the Force for the remaining three games. He’ll be proud of their effort and while the Force were slow off the mark to start the match, their fightback will be something he can use to motivate the team throughout the week.

Cheetahs back three show flair

When the match was wide open in the early stages it was the Cheetahs back three that took their chances. Raymond Rule, Sergeal Petersen and Clayton Blommetjies combined for a total of 294 run metres and two tries to help the home side set up a solid lead. The Cheetahs speed out wide, especially from Petersen hurt the Force as they struggled to get their hands on the ball.