Cheetahs snatch fourth and Semi-final place

The Free State Cheetahs won a place in the Currie Cup semi-finals after beating the Boland Cavaliers 55-10 (halftime 33-3) in the last round of the round robin matches played at Boland Stadium in Wellington on Saturday.

The victory moved the Cheetahs up to 40 points, enough to sneak into the playoffs after Griquas lost 45-30 to the Sharks when they required two log points to advance.

Both the Cheetahs and Griquas finished up level on log points, but the Free Staters’ superior points differential proved vital in the final outcome. For Boland, their 13th loss means they finish bottom of the Premier Division log with five points.

They will now host the Pumas on 24 October in the first of two promotion-relegation matches before travelling to Witbank a week later for the return fixture.

The Cheetahs were clinical against the Cavaliers, scoring nine tries to one in a one-sided contest that featured outstanding individual performances by Bok flanker Heinrich Brussow, who scored a brace, and rampaging eighthman Ashley Johnson, whose international aspirations were advanced on a hot afternoon.

The Cheetahs opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Brussow burrowed over from a lineout drive after the Bolanders had infringed at scrum time. Flyhalf Louis Strydom added the extra points.

The visitors then scored their second seven minutes later when excellent driving work by tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen in particular led to space out wide for centre Meyer Bosman to exploit.

The former Bok centre drew the defence before slipping a crisp pass that put winger Jongi Nokwe in at the corner unopposed.

The Cavaliers opened their account in the 19th minute when flyhalf Danré Gerber kicked a penalty. Brussow then snatched his second try in identical fashion to his first when the Boland defence disintegrated from another lineout penalty catch-and-drive after 25 minutes.

Strydom was again on target with the extra points to make it 19-3. Scrumhalf Tewis de Bruyn then grabbed the bonus point five minutes before the break after more sustained pressure on the Boland line.

Nokwe scored his second four minutes into first-half injury time after a simple backline move but the Bok flyer looked to have done himself an injury when trying to stop himself from running into an iron fence behind the dead ball line.

After the break, the visitors ran in another five tries to overwhelm the locals, who could only respond with a single try by Gerber, which he converted himself.

With the Bulls safely in third place following their win over the Leopards on Friday night, the Cheetahs must travel to Durban to face the Sharks for their semifinal. Western Province will host the Blue Bulls.

Final Score Boland 10 Cheetahs 55


Try: Danré Gerber. Conversion: Gerber.
Penalty: Gerber.

Free State:
Tries: Heinrich Brussow (2), Jongi Nokwe (2), Tewis de Bruyn, Frans Viljoen, JW Jonker (2), Fabian Juries.
Conversions: Louis Strydom (5).

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