“The players had put in seven hard training sessions during the week and they all displayed the courage and conviction we’d been talking about to come out on top. We travelled without 16 players and youngsters like Rhys Patchell, Lewis Jones, Owen Williams and Thomas Young played very maturely.
“We defended well for long periods, scored four tries and simply refused to let the game slip from our grasp. This will set us up nicely for the start of the season and we now have a platform on which to build when we get home.”
The Blues’ cause wasn’t helped when Josh Navidi pulled out of the game, played at the world renowned rugby academy, Grey College, with sickness. Davies used all 24 players at his disposal and gave Blues debuts to new signings Jason Tovey, Lou Reed, Benoit Bourrust, Andi Kyriacou, Robin Copeland and Rob Lewis.
The Cheetahs led 19-15 at half time and went behind for the first time on the hour when the Blues made it two tries in five minutes to lead 29-24. But a converted try by flanker Pieter Labuschagne after 72 minutes edged the home side back in front 31-29 to set-up a thrilling finale.
(First Half): Jason Tovey; Tom James, Owen Williams, Dafydd Hewitt, Chris Czekaj; Rhys Patchell, Lewis Jones; Nathan Trevett, Andi Kyriacou, Benoit Bourrust, Macauley Cook, James Down, Robin Copeland, Rory Watts-Jones, Andries Pretorius (Captain)
(Second Half): Dan Fish; Tom James, Gavin Evans, Gareth Davies, Chris Czekaj; Ceri Sweeney, Robert Lewis; Jake Cooper-Woolley, Marc Breeze, Scott Andrews, Macauley Cook, Lou Reed, Rory Watts-Jones, Tom Young, Andries Pretorius (Captain)
Blues Scorers: Tries: Tom James, Chris Czekaj, Owen Williams, Macauley Cook; Cons: C Sweeney 2, R Patchell; Pens: C Sweeney, R Patchell.