Highlanders rally, steal win vs Cheetahs
The Highlanders have stolen a miraculous victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein this morning (NZ time).
After trailing 23-9 at halftime and 30-9 with half an hour to go, a last minute penalty from Chris Noakes has seen them take a 36-33 victory in improbable circumstances.
A try with 20 minutes to go by Noakes, then two further tries in the space of as many minutes from Jimmy Cowan put the visitors on level terms with the Cheetahs.
With only three minutes remaining it looked as though the home team were about to ice the game as replacement first five Sias Ebersohn lined up a penalty from in front of the posts.
However, the Cheetahs player hooked his attempt just wide and then the Highlanders were able to work their way just into the Cheetahs half to set up a game winning penalty kick for Noakes from 47m out.
Cheetahs first five Johan Goosen was outstanding for the home team, contributing 18 points before he was injured out of the game scoring a try soon after halftime.
Ben Smith sparked the Highlanders revival in the second half, cutting a swathe through a tiring Cheetahs defence.
The Highlanders had been average during the first half, their discipline costing them dearly against the accurate boot of Goosen, with Andrew Hore and James Haskell both picking up yellow cards, at one stage leaving the Highlanders with only 13 players on the paddock.
Haskell has since been cited for allegedly striking Cheetahs player Justin Downey twice as he left a scrum that was being completed.
There was a scuffle between several players immediately following the incident, which occurred just before halftime.
Upon further review of the match footage the citing commissioner deemed in his opinion the incident had met the red card threshold for foul play.
The Highlanders will be hoping Haskell is cleared as they now head to Durban for the second game of their South African double-header against the Sharks.
HIGHLANDERS 36 (Jimmy Cowan 2, Chris Noakes tries; Michael Delany 3 pen, Noakes 3 con, 2 pen)
CHEETAHS 33 (Andries Ferreira, Johan Goosen, Coenie Oosthuizen tries; Goosen 2 con, 3 pen, Sias Ebersohn con, pen)
- © Fairfax NZ News
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