Pro14: In-form Cheetahs too strong for Munster in Bloemfontein
|Pro14: Cheetahs 40-16 Munster|
|Cheetahs (12) 40|
|Tries: Nche, Pokomela, Small-Smith, Dweba, Wiese, Smith Cons: Pienaar 4, Schoeman|
|Munster (9) 16|
|Tries: Goggin Pens: Bleyendaal 3 Cons: Bleyendaal|
Under-strength Munster suffered their first defeat of the Pro14 season as the Cheetahs maintained their 100% record with a 40-16 home win.
The South African side made a strong start in Bloemfontein and tries from Ox Nche and Junior Pokomela gave them a 12-9 lead at the break.
The hosts then took charge through tries from William Small-Smith, Joseph Dweba, Jasper Wiese and Rhyno Smith.
Dan Goggin scored a late try for the hard-working visitors.
Franco Smith was taking charge of the Cheetahs for the final time before departing to take the Italy job, where he will replace Irishman Conor O'Shea.
Smith's men had notched a remarkable 111 points in their opening two victories, which included last weekend's 63-26 hammering of Ulster.
They showed great adventure with the ball in hand against Munster, with their expansive play causing problems for the visitors, who defended well throughout the first half before being outplayed in the second.
Former Ulster scrum-half Ruan Pienaar was particularly impressive, dictating the tempo of the game from behind the scrum with his excellent vision and wide range of passing.
The home side's early possession paid off when they made the most of having a man advantage to open the scoring with a Nche try in the 10th minute.
With Munster hooker Rhys Marshall sin-binned for collapsing the maul a minute earlier, home captain Pienaar fed a quick ball off the back of a ruck to Nche and he ran a good line to cross under the posts, with Pienaar adding the first of his four conversions.
Munster grew into the game as the half progressed and Tyler Bleyendaal struck a penalty in off the post to get them on the scoreboard on 22 minutes, adding another three points six minutes later.
Pokomela got the second try of the game for the Cheetahs, finishing from close range after a sweeping move from left to right.
Bleyendaal added his third successful kick from three on the stroke of half-time to ensure his side went into the break just three points behind.
He missed the opportunity to bring his side level early in the second half with a 44th-minute penalty and, just two minutes later, the Cheetahs stretched their lead to 10 points with a converted try.
Louis Fouche turned possession over well and Cheetahs put together another excellent passing move which found Small-Smith wide on the right, and he powered past his marker for an impressive score.
Try number four for the dominant Cheetahs came on 56 minutes and this time it was from good work by the forwards.
Hooker Joseph Dweba made the most of a well-set maul following a good line-out to score, with Pienaar again showing no nerves as he slotted over another difficult conversion.
Wiese came off the bench to score eight minutes from time and Goggin claimed the visitors' only try of the match from a good move before Smith went over just before the full-time whistle.
Cheetahs: Smith; Small-Smith, van Rensburg, L Fouche, Volmink; Schoeman, Pienaar; Nche, Dweba, de Bruin, Manjezi, Steenkamp, Olivier, Pokomela, H Venter.
Replacements: R Venter, B Venter, N Fouche, du Preez, Keon, Wiese, Meyer, Blommetjies
Munster: Haley; Sweetnam, Goggin, Scannell, Daly; Bleyendaal, McCarthy; Loughman, Marshall, Archer, Wycherley, Holland (capt), O'Donoghue, O'Donnell, Botha.
Replacements: O'Byrne, Cronin, Knox, O'Shea, Coombes, Mathewson, Hanrahan, Nash.