The Cheetahs are out of the Challenge Cup after they lost 36-21 to Toulon in a round-of-16 clash at Stade Mayol on Saturday.
RECAP | Toulon v Cheetahs – Challenge Cup
The Cheetahs dominated the opening exchanges and camped on the Toulon line for the first six minutes. Although they were awarded a few penalties, they opted to set up lineouts to go for the try and, eventually, turned the ball over with Toulon clearing.
On the other hand, Toulon opted for goal with the first penalty they received and Thomas Salles, usually so reliable from the kicking tee, fluffed his lines as the ball sailed past the right-hand upright.
A period of extended possession followed for Toulon, and unlike the Cheetahs, they made it count as Salles cut through the Cheetahs’ midfield after being put in space by flyhalf Dan Biggar.
Salles converted his own try to give Toulon a 7-0 lead in the 14th minute.
The Cheetahs continued showing glimpses of their attacking intent but were continually let down by mistakes and ill-discipline.
They almost opened their account in the 26th minute following a maul close to the Toulon line, but somehow the home side turned the ball over and cleared the danger.
The Cheetahs then suffered a setback in the 30th minute as Toulon launched a long-range attack. From a resulting ruck, lock Rynier Bernardo was sent to the bin for a cynical infringement.
Toulon set up a lineout 5 meters from the Cheetahs’ line and made their extra man count when hooker Teddy Baubigny scored from the resulting maul.
Salles missed his conversion attempt, but the home side now led comfortably 12-0 with 8 minutes left in the half.
The Cheetahs continued to produce chances, but again, their discipline let them down.
Wing Daniel Kasende was penalised for a push on Biggar just five meters from the Toulon line after chasing a Ruan Pienaar kick ahead. Then Pienaar was guilty of missing touch when trying to set up an attacking lineout.
Toulon, however, made no mistake with their chance on the stroke of halftime as left-wing Aymeric Luc collected a chip and scored in the left-hand corner.
Salles converted as Toulon took a 19-0 lead into the break.
The Cheetahs needed to ensure they started the second half by cutting out their errors and getting themselves on the board, and that’s exactly what they did in the 45th minute as replacement hooker Marko Janse van Rensburg rumbled over the line.
Pienaar added the conversion as the Cheetahs cut the Toulon lead to 12 with the score now 19-7.
Toulon hit back almost immediately after some enterprising play found flank, Facundo Isa. His strength and pace carried him over in the right-hand corner for an unconverted try as Toulon pushed their lead out to 24-7.
Toulon then scored their fifth try of the afternoon after the visitors lost possession due to a loose pass as their error count continued unabated.
The home side worked the ball into space for Jiuta Naqoli Wainiqolo to cross the whitewash.
Salles converted as the Toulon lead grew to 31-7.
Cohen Jasper grabbed one back for the Cheetahs in the 59th minute as he ghosted through a gap to score near the uprights.
Pienaar’s conversion meant that the visitors had cut Toulon’s lead to 31-14, but only a quarter of the match remained.
Toulon dispelled any chance of a miraculous Cheetahs comeback in the 69th minute when Wainiqolo crossed for his second of the match.
While Salles couldn’t convert, Toulon had opened a commanding 36-14 lead.
The Cheetahs scored a converted consolation try, with Bernardo making up for his earlier yellow card as the score read 36-21 with 7 minutes remaining.
That’s the way it remained when the full-time whistle blew, signalling an end to the Cheetahs’ run in Europe.
Toulon 36 (19)
Tries: Thomas Salles, Teddy Baubigny, Aymeric Luc, Facundo Isa, Jiuta Naqoli Wainiqolo (2).
Conversions: Thomas Salles (3)
Cheetahs 21 (0)
Tries: Marko Janse van Rensburg, Cohen Jasper, Rynier Bernardo
Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (3)
15 Thomas Salles, 14 Jiuta Naqoli Wainiqolo, 13 Jérémy Sinzelle, 12 Waisea Vuidravuwalu, 11 Aymeric Luc, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Facundo Isa, 6 Jules Coulon, 5 Adrien Warion, 4 Swan Rebbadj, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Teddy Baubigny, 1 Bruce Devaux
Substitutes: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Beka Gigashvili, 19 Matthias Halagahu, 20 Mathieu Bastareaud, 21 Jules Danglot, 22 Maëlan Rabut, 23 Ihaia West
15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 David Brits, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Munier Hartzenberg, 10 Reinhardt Fortuin, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete (captain), 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Substitutes: 16 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Nqobisizwe Mxoli, 19 Mzwanele Zito, 20 Daniel Maartens, 21 Sibabalo Qoma, 22 Rewan Kruger, 23 Cohan Jasper
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