The Cheetahs may just have discovered a new darling (and valuable Johan Goosen understudy) in flyhalf Hansie Graaff, with the 23-year-old Griffons pivot stepping up late during Saturday’s pre-season clash against the Stormers to win the game with a huge penalty.
The visitors enjoyed the better of the play in the first half, although will have gained few new fans in grinding their way to an 11-0 half-time lead, courtesy of a try to flank Nizaam Carr, and two Kurt Coleman penalties.
The Cheetahs’ first points in the game, via a penalty to Riaan Smit, were shortly reversed as Carr crashed over again, but staring down the barrel of a big defeat (3-16) it was the home side who then struck back. Tries to scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius and flank Frans Viljoen saw them go ahead 17-16, before Coleman edged his side in front again. Centre Damian de Allende then rounded off a thrilling move to see the Stormers comfortably ahead, 26-17 as the game neared its climax.
A late try by Rocco Jansen saw the Cheetahs back within two, before Graaff’s last-minute heroic conversion of a 55 metre penalty attempt saw the hosts prevail, 27-26.
Tries: Sarel Pretorius, Frans Viljoen, Rocco Jansen
Cons: Elgar Watts 3
Pens: Riaan Smit, Hansie Graaff
Tries: Nizaam Carr 2, Damian de Allende
Con: Kurt Coleman
Pens: Coleman 3