Super Rugby: Cheetahs annihilate Sunwolves, winning 92-17 in Bloemfontein

The Cheetahs ran riot, scoring 14 tries in their 92-17 win over the Sunwolves to capture their second Super Rugby win of the season

Super Rugby: Cheetahs annihilate Sunwolves, winning 92-17 in Bloemfontein
Sergeal Petersen scored three tries in the big Cheetah win (image via: scmp.com)

The Free State Cheetahs ran riot in Bloemfontein, putting 92 points past the Sunwolves, in the third biggest win in Super Rugby history. 

Their 14 tries equals the Super Rugby record, set by the Crusaders 14 years ago in their 96-19 win over the Waratahs, which remains the highest single-team score.  

Leading into this game, the Cheetahs only previous win this season had came against the same opponents making it a very surprising result. 

Shaun Venter was one of ten different Cheetah try-scorers (image via: rugby365.comTwitter)

The final result is not a good look for the new Super Rugby expansion, with the Japanese franchise now having suffered seven defeats from seven matches.

In their defence, the Sunwolves were in the third week of their first ever Super Rugby tour, having faced the Kings and Stormers over the previous fortnight. Also, after the game, captain Shota Horie admitted that the team had been affected by news back home, where an earthquake with a magnitude 7.0 had occurred in Kumamoto, putting into question the state of mind of some of the Sunwolf players. 

Venter leads from front in dominant first-half display

It was actually the Sunwolves who grabbed an early lead when Tusi Pisi knocked over a penalty goal, as the Japanese side went in search of their first Super Rugby triumph. 

That lead lasted just five minutes though, before the Cheetahs scored the first of their seven tries before the break. It came from hooker Torsten Van Jaarsveld, who found himself on the back of a driving maul, before Niel Marais added the extras. 

Captain Francois Venter scored the second try of the game when he intercepted a pass before racing away under the posts. Venter was a constant menace for the Sunwolves defence, carving them up at will, and making a number of breaks which led to tries.

Uzair Cassiem, Raymond Rhule and Sergeal Petersen all crossed for tries before the 20th minute mark had even been reached, as the Sunwolves found themselves 33-3 down following the opening quarter.  

Shaun Venter broke down the blindside to add the sixth try, before Petersen crossed for his second after winning an aerial battle against his opposite number, giving the home side a 45-3 half-time lead. 

Petersen and Schoeman complete hat-tricks

Unfortunately for the Sunwolves, their hosts didn't take their foot off the gas after the break, adding a further seven tries to equal the highest score by a South African side in Super Rugby history.

The 92 points scored by the Bulls against the Reds in 2007 were equalled by the Cheetahs after a late blitz of tries, many of which came following breaks from Petersen. 

After Hilton Lobberts and Clayton Blommetjies had added tries eight and nine, the Sunwolves scored two well-worked tries of their own through Derek Carpenter and Mifiposeti Paea to start giving the score a semblence of respect. 

Those tries only seemed to bring the Cheetahs back to life though, and they added five tries in the final 20 minutes to take the score past 90. 

Number eight, Paul Schoeman scored a hat-trick, adding to Jacques du Toit's short-rang effort, and Petersen's length of the field five-pointer which completed his try triple. 

There were ten different Cheetah try scorers at the Free State Stadium, equalling a Super Rugby record, with Niel Marais having converted eight of the tries, and Fred Zelinga three to complete the scoring. 

The Cheetahs head to Australia to take on the Rebels in week nine, whilst the Sunwolves head home to Tokyo to host the Jaguares