Defence wins it for Cheetahs over Griquas

Solid defence by the Free State Cheetahs late in their Cup match against Griquas on Friday night earned them a well-deserved 33-28 win.


Griquas now have a mountain to climb to reach the semi-finals.

The Cheetahs did not play well in the first half but looked like a totally different team after the halftime break with quality rugby and impressive defence.

The first real exciting play of the match was when Griquas right-winger Rocco Jansen ran around his direct opponent Jongi Nokwe.

The home side then piled on the pressure and received a penalty which Naas Olivier (flyhalf) successfully nailed for a 6-0 lead.

Earlier he kicked his first from 42 meters out. Griquas again went on the run after a Free State handling error and with clean service from his scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, Olivier kicked a good 50 meter drop for a 9-0 lead.

The Free State however bounced back with Ashley Johnson (No 8) diving over next to the uprights. From an attacking scrum, fullback Hennie Daniller come close before Johnson grabbed his chance.

Louis Strydom converted to reduce the deficit to 7-9 on the stroke of the first quarter.

He later added a penalty for the lead the Cheetahs did not concede again. With Griquas strong on attack in the Cheetahs half, Pretorius knocked on from where Daniller counter attacked. Johnson handled and sent Nokwe away for a great score.

The Springbok speedster had a lot to do and got past three defenders for a try that silenced the crowd who only seconds earlier were hoping for a Griqua score.

Strydom’s conversion earned his team a 17-9 lead at the break. Where the first 40 minutes produced little action, the second half was action packed.

Two Strydom penalties stretched the Free State lead to 23-9 before Olivier pulled five back with a try eight minutes into the second stanza.

Riaan Viljoen could not add the extra two but Griquas were back in the game for two minutes before Nokwe scored his second try from a nice inside pass from Meyer Bosman.

With Strydom’s conversion it seemed if the match was out of Griquas’ grasp. But the hosts fought back with a try by Cecil Kemp (lock).

Olivier converted which made it 33-21 to Free State. Griquas had all the possession in the last 10 minutes and had several chances to score, but the Cheetahs defended brilliantly and kept the Griquas out until two minutes before the end when eighthman Burger Schoeman finally dotted down.

It was however too late as they ran out of time to get onto the scoreboard again.

Final Score Free State Cheetahs 33 Griquas 28


Tries: Ashley Johnson, Jongi Nokwe (2).
Conversions: Louis Strydom (3) .
Penalties: Strydom (3), Bosman.

Tries: Naas Olivier, Cecil Kemp, Burger Schoeman.
Conversions: Naas Olivier (2).
Penalties: Naas Olivier (2).
Drop goal: Olivier.

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