The Free State Cheetahs kept their chances of reaching the Currie Cup play
offs alive by beating Griquas 44-24 in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
With the knock-out stage of the competition rapidly approaching, the bonus
point Franco Smith’s men picked-up could end up being worth its weight
The hosts were quick out of the blocks and needed only five minutes before
wing Raymond Rhule went over for the first of five tries the Free State squad
would score on the day.
Griquas responded with a try in the 10th minute when former Sevens star Ruhan
Nel scored after scrumhalf Tian Meyer created space out wide.
At 7-7 the Cheetahs had to deal with yet another injury setback, but worked
through that passage and would eventually reap the rewards of some outstanding
finishing by wing Sergeal Petersen.
Petersen would score twice before the half-hour mark to ensure his side was
in the ascendency while Griquas had only one penalty by Clinton Swart to show
after the early try.
Leading 24-10 at half-time the Cheetahs would go in search of that vital bonus
point and it came in the 51st minute when scrumhalf Shaun Venter capped off
another splendid afternoon behind the rucks with a try of his own.
Griquas were again quick to respond and Nel closed the gap down to 34-15 while
Meyer also dived over to restore some hope.
The final say, however, belongs to Mthokozisi Mkhabela who erased any suspicions
of late lapse in concentration when he scored a stunning try in the 76th minute.
Final Score Free State Cheetahs 44 (24) Griquas 24 (10):
Free State Cheetahs
Tries: Mthokozisi Mkhabela, Shaun Venter, Sergeal Petersen (2), Raymond Rhule
Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (5)
Penalties: Zeilinga (3)
Tries: Tian Meyer, Ruhan Nel (2)
Conversions: Clinton Swart (3)
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha, Stephan Geldenhuys
Free State Cheetahs
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Rayno Benjamin,
11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Henco
Venter, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 Reniel Hugo 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Luan de Bruin,
2 Jacques du Toit, 1 BG Uys.
Replacements: 16 Teunis Nieuwoudt, 17 Neil Rautenbach, 18 Teboho Mohoje, 19
Freddy Ngoza, 20 Zee Mkhabela, 21 Tertius Kruger, 22 Sias Ebersohn.
Griquas: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Ruhan Nel, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Clinton Swart,
11 Jacquin Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer (c), 8 Carel Greeff, 7
Jonathan Adendorf, 6 RJ Liebenberg, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jaco Nepgen, 3 Stephan
Kotze, 2 Abraham le Roux, 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Jonathan Janse van
Rensburg, 19 Wendal Wehr, 20 Dylon Frylink, 21 Gouws Prinsloo, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa.