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Cats 34 Force 34

Cats force a draw with great play in second half

Force denied their first win in the Super 14...

The Cats played spectacular rugby in the 2nd half of their match against the Force on Friday at Ellis Park to deny the Force their first victory in the Super 14. The halftime score was 21-3 in the favour of the Force, but the Cats scored 31 points in the second half to force the draw.

Brock James from the Force started the match in perfect weather conditions, promising perfect rugby from the two teams!

Initially both teams played the kicking game, trying to pin the other team in their 22. The Cats made their first mistake 3 minutes into the game when they infringed at the scrum, just inside the Force half, giving Shepherd his first opportunity at goal, which unfortunately for the Force, hit the left upright.

The Force came close to a try 6 minutes into the game when they took a penalty quickly, Henjak running it up right, and breaking through a couple of weak Cats tackles, but the ball was lost forward in the last pass on the Cats try-line.

8 minutes into the game the Force got a penalty 5 meters out, and instead of taking the points, opted for a line-out, which they drove up to the Cats try-line, where the Cats and in particular Kleinjan Tromp, managed to drive them over the touchline.

Eventually Andre Pretorius kicked a great touchfinder to get the Cats back in the Force half.

15 minutes into the game the Cats were in the Force 22 for the 1st time from a penalty that was kicked out 5 meters from the Force try-line, the Cats drove the ball over the Force try-line, but the tmo ruled, rightly, that it was no try.

23 minutes into the game Andre Pretorius opened the Cats score with a penalty just outside the Force ten meter line, about 10 meters from the touchline.

The Force hit back immediatly with a try where Staniforth cut through the Cats backline defence like it did not exist, to score under the poles. Shepherd converted for a 7-3 lead for the Force.

Shortly thereafter the Force scored their second try, setting up an overlap on the left, with Ioane receiving the ball on the left wing just inside the Cats 22 and running in a simple try, once again converted by Shepherd for a 14-3 lead for the Force.

5 minutes from the break the Cats defence was cut to pieces by Shepherd, into the line from fullback, he was brought down just short of the Cats try-line, but the Force got quick ball from the ruck, the ball went down the backline on the right, and Staniforth managed to beat a few Cats tackles for the 3rd try of the Force, once again converted by Shepherd, the Force lead now 21-3.  

Just before the break, Jaque Fourie had a nice run down the righthand side of the field, but the move broke down when he passed infield to Rose, who knocked the ball on in the tackle.

That was it for the first half, the Force leading deservedly 21-3. 

The Cats started the second half better, Earl Rose came into the backline to create an overlap on the left, he managed to get close to the Force try-line, the quick ball from the ruck was passed to the left to Kleinjan Tromp, who juggled the ball before falling over in the left hand corner for the try. Pretorius missed the conversion to the left, the score 21-8 for the Force.

7 minutes into the 2nd half, Grant Estehuizen missed a crucial tackle on Shepherd on the halfway line, Shepherd ran into space up to the Cats 22 meter line, where he passed to Staniforth, who ran in his 3rd try of the night. Shepherd converted for a 28-8 lead to the Force.

Three minutes later the Cats hit back with a Delarey du Preez try, it came when Kleinjan Tromp intercepted on the halfway line, he ran the ball up to the Force 22 where he was tackled, but from here the Cats set up a few phases, and eventually from close to the Force try-line, the ball came to the left, and Delarey du Preez received a beautiful long skip pass on the left wing, and he scored in the left corner. Pretorius converted to make the score 28-15 for the Force.

Again the Force hit back straight away, they got a penalty on the Cats 22, and Shepherd made no mistake, the Force lead 31-15.

18 minutes into the 2nd half the Force put themselves under pressure when they took a quick line-out with a few Cats on hand to put pressure on the receiver, he was caught in possession, and conceded a penalty for holding on. The Cats opted for the 5 meter line-out, but couldn't get the ball over the Force's line. From the resulting scrum, the ball went down the backline, Doppies brought it back inside, and then from the next phase the ball went down the backline again, Jaque Fourie the receiver, he stepped and beat a couple of tackles to dot down under the poles. Pretorius converted to make the score 31-22 for the Force.

24 minutes into the 2nd half, Ernst Joubert was caught in possession just inside the Cats half, he was blown for holding on, and Shepherd kicked his longest kick of the evening for a 34-22 lead for the Force.

The Cats now launched attack after attack on the Force try-line, and it was just bad option taking  from the players that kept them from scoring. Eventually in one of these attacks, Earl Rose managed to beat a tackle, and was brought down just short of the try-line, the ball should then have gone left to a huge Cats overlap, but it went right to Sephaka, who drove it up, and only then the ball came left to the overlap, where Willem Stoltz ran in the try, although he took his time to dot down, and was almost tackled over the dead ball line, but the tmo ruled that he did get it down for the try. Pretorius converted, the Force lead now 34-29.

37 minutes into the 2nd half, the Cats brought down a Force maul just outside their 10 meter line, this gave Shepherd the chance to put the game out of reach for the Cats, but he missed the kick to the left.

Now the Cats threw everything at the Force, and eventually, after the hooter went, Wylie Human scored a great try, he was running down the left hand try-line and threw a huge dummy, bought by the Force defender, and he swan dived over for a try in the corner, to even the score on 34-34. Pretorius missed the conversion, and the final score was a 34 all draw.  

The scorers:

For the Cats:
Tromp, Du Preez, Fourie, Stoltz, Human  
 Pretorius 3
Pretorius 1

For the Force:
Staniforth(3), Ioane  
Cons: Shepherd 4
Pens: Shepherd 2

Yellow card: none
Red card: none 

Cats: 15 Earl Rose, 14 Conrad Jantjes, 13 Grant Esterhuizen, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 Jaque Fourie, 10 Andre Pretorius (Captain), 9 Enrico Januarie, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Trevor Hall, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Gerhard Mostert, 4 Kleinjan Tromp, 3 Daniel Muller, 2 Delarey du Preez, 1 Lawrence Sephaka.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Bertus Smit, 18 Willem Stoltz, 19 Alten Hulme, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Wayne Julies, 22 Wylie Human.
Force: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Haig Sare, 13 Josh Graham, 12 Scott Staniforth, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Brock James, 9 Matt Henjak, 8 Scott Fava, 7 Matt Hodgson, 6 David Pusey, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Pat O'Connor, 3 Angus Scott, 2 Tai McIsaac, 1 Gareth Hardy.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 David Te Moana, 18 Luke Doherty, 19 Tim Davidson, 20 Chris O'Young, 21 Lachlan Mackay, 22 Junior Pelesasa.
Referee: Chris Pollock
Touch judges: Bryce Lawrence & Tappe Henning
TV Match Official: Shaun Veldsman

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