Challenge Cup series: Cheetahs miss bus in Amsterdam against Pau


The table was set, the main dish was already on the table, but it didn’t look like the Cheetahs wanted to sit down.

A total of 4,500 spectators flocked to the NRCA stadium in Amsterdam on Sunday afternoon to see the Cheetahs in action in their new home in the European Challenge Cup series.

There were spectators who had perhaps never been to a rugby match before, there were supporters in orange jerseys and caps, there were others with sweat suits with Free State embroidered on them and quite a few times “Cheetahs, Cheetahs, Cheetahs” echoed.

But then they were disappointed, because the Cheetahs had butter fingers in the cold and their discipline left much to be desired in their showdown with Section Paloise (Pau).

The French won 33-20 after leading 17-12 at halftime.

The Cheetahs appeared lethargic, because perhaps they tried too hard to convince. They were forced into fouls and were punished countless times by Scottish referee Hollie Davidson.

In addition, the lock Rynier Bernardo was punished with a yellow card for unacceptable play on the Cheetahs’ goal line with about 15 minutes left.

Pau, who had several youngsters in his starting team, exploited the Cheetahs’ weaknesses.

Ex-Wallaby fullback Jack Maddocks, 19-year-old flyhalf Axel Desperes and experienced scrumhalf Dan Robson crushed the Cheetahs with attacking play and tactical kicking.

The Cheetahs were also 0-14 behind early on and played catch-up rugby. In addition, the cold, wet ball and slippery pitch made the Bloemfonteiners scramble around.

It was a very disappointing performance by the Cheetahs, who now have to put things right in their last game in the group stages against Oyonnax.

As for Amsterdam, they owe the fans a win.

Scorers: Cheetahs 20 (I2): Tries: Munier Hartzenberg, Jeandré Rudolph, Louis van der Westhuizen. Goal kick: Ruan Pienaar. Penalty Goal: Pienaar

Pau 33 (17): Tries: Jack Maddocks, Émilien Gailleton, Dan Robson Goals: Axel Desperes (2), Thibault Debaes. Penalty goals: Desperes (4).