Pro14: Cheetahs 29-27 Cardiff Blues
|Pro14: Cheetahs v Cardiff Blues|
|Cheetahs (22) 29|
|Tries: Maxwane 2, Venter, penalty try Cons: Marais 2 Pens: Marais|
|Cardiff Blues (6) 27|
|Tries: Lane, Halaholo, Lee-Lo Cons: Shingler 3 Pens: Anscombe 2|
Cheetahs extended their advantage over fourth-placed Cardiff Blues in Conference A with a last-gasp win.
Wing Sibahle Maxwane caused the Blues trouble all afternoon, including two tries in a dominant first-half performance.
Blues scored three second-half tries to take the lead but an 87th minute penalty try gave Cheetahs victory.
Ospreys' win over Connacht on Friday means Champions Cup qualification is still possible for both Welsh regions.
The Cheetahs took a deserved 22-6 lead into half-time.
Two tries from Maxwane and one from Francois Venter could only be matched by two Gareth Anscombe penalties in the first 40 minutes as the South African side dominated.
Maxwane scored the opening try with the score level at 3-3. A poor line-out was picked up by Cheetahs and they strung together three offloads to set up the South African wing.
Cheetahs had their second try 10 minutes later as Venter ran in following a slip in the Blues defence.
On the stroke of half-time, Maxwane scored his second and Cheetahs' third, making the most of their man advantage with wing Owen Lane yellow carded.
However, Blues looked a different outfit in the second half, and came agonisingly close to mounting what would have been a spectacular comeback.
Lane and centres Rey Lee-Lo and Willis Halaholo all scored tries as the Blues looked to have secured victory.
But Alex Cuthbert and Brad Thyer were both shown yellow cards and after five penalties were conceded at the scrum by Blues, referee Mike Adamson had no option other than to award the 87th-minute penalty try.
That secured a bonus point win for the Cheetahs, while Blues were forced to settle for a losing bonus point.
Blues are still aiming to finish strongly in the Pro14 this season to qualify for next season's European Champions Cup, but they are also targeting Challenge Cup success this season.
Danny Wilson's side beat Edinburgh 20-6 at Murrayfield to secure a home Challenge Cup semi-final against French outfit Pau on 21 April.
Toyota Cheetahs: Clayton Blommetjies; William Small-Smith, Francois Venter (c), Clinton Swart, Sibhale Maxane; Niel Marais, Tian Meyer; Ox Nche, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Johan Coetzee, Carl Wegner, Reniel Hugo, Paul Schoeman, Oupa Mohoje, Uzair Cassiem
Replacements: Jacques du Toit, Erich de Jager, Tom Botha, Rynier Bernardo, Henco Venter, Zee Mkhabela, Fred Zeilinga, AJ Coertzen
Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Alex Cuthbert, Garyn Smith, Willis Halaholo, Owen Lane; Gareth Anscombe (capt), Lloyd Williams; Rhys Gill, Kirby Myhill, Anton Peikrishvili, Seb Davies, Damian Welch, Macauley Cook, Olly Robinson, Josh Navidi
Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Brad Thyer, Dillon Lewis, Josh Turnbull, Ellis Jenkins, Tomos Williams, Steven Shingler, Rey Lee-Lo
Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (IRFU), Ben Crouse (SARU)
TMO: Johan Geeffe