Free state Cheetahs keep their Currie Cup hopes alive

The Free State Cheetahs put together an impressive display of exhilarating but controlled running in beating the Valke 78-7 in Brakpan on Friday night to keep their Currie Cup semifinal hopes very much alive.

The result improved their points difference to 114– 29 better than that of Western Province — and also moved them five points clear of WP on the log.

However, the Cape Town side have a match in hand and still have to play the Boland Kavaliers and the Lions – both at home – while the Free State must also play the Kavaliers in Bloemfontein.

It was fast, exciting and good to watch albeit a little loose at times as the Cheetahs ran at every possible opportunity in chasing their bonus point and to reduce WP’s points advantage.

Five tries in the first half for a 31-0 lead at halftime was proof that they were on the right track. They ended with 12 tries with smooth running and passing behind the pack and good foraging by Heinrich Brussow and Duanne Vermeulen in particular.

The pace of their attacks and too many Valke turnovers made the difference against a side that competed well on the ground but didn’t have an answer in the scrums or when the ball went wide.

The fact that the Valke were issued with three yellow cards – two of their players were off the field at the same time – also didn’t help their cause. Not that the Valke didn’t try.

They put together a few good moves themselves and tackled like demons although the scoreline belies that. Replacement hooker Ryno Barnes scored the Valke’s only try after 70 minutes.

Pick of the Valke was probably the never-say-die scrumhalf Gerrie Odendaal. The bonus point, a relative rarity for the Cheetahs this season, came after 28 minutes via JW Jonker’s second try. Particularly impressive was Cheetahs flyhalf and Man of the Match Jacques-Louis Potgieter.

Potgieter varied play with some straight running alternated with good distribution and three clean breaks in the first half and another which led to a try seven minutes into the second half.

He also scored himself after another break in the last quarter. The Cheetahs positive approach helped them increase their paltry try tally of 30 after 12 matches to 42.

Final score Valke 7 Cheetahs 78


Try: Ryno Barnes
Conversion: Jeff Perkins

Tries: JW Jonker (2), Duanne Vermeulen, Kabamba Floors, Tewis de Bruyn (2), Jongi Nokwe (3), penalty try, Heinrich Brussouw, Jacques-Louis Potgieter.
Conversions: Potgieter (8), De Bruyn.

Sapa –

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