Cheetahs power to victory over EP Kings

The Free State Cheetahs powered to a 57-25 victory over the EP Kings in their Currie Cup clash in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Despite starting the stronger of the two teams, the Kings were quickly worn down as their third game in seven days took it’s toll, as the Cheetahs outscored the visitors nine tries to three in a dominating performance and scoreline.

In the 11th minute, EP centre JC Greyling converted his side’s first real chance inside the Cheetahs 22 as he barged over for the try. Pieter-Steyn de Wet added the extra two to make it 7-0 after 12 minutes.

Cheetahs flyhalf Fred Zelinga struck back with two penalties in the next five minutes to pull within a point of the visitors at 7-6.

The Cheetahs were over for their first try in the 20th minute, after good hands in the backline, centre Nico Lee ran unhindered for the score. Zelinga was wayward with his conversion, but the hosts hit the lead at 11-7 ahead.

The Cheetahs were over again for another try after some good forward play, with prop Tom Botha showing good body position to muscle over the line. Zelinga slotted the conversion to make it 18-7 in favour of the Cheetahs.

The Kings moved the score up to 18-10 as De Wet added a penalty in the 31st minute.

It did not take the Cheetahs long to reply as flanker Paul Schoeman received the ball on the wing with still some work to do from 10 metres out, but showed his good upper body strength to dot down in the corner despite the attention of the Kings defence. The conversion attempt was again wayward but the home team moved into a 23-10 advantage which they took into the interval.

Schoeman picked up his second try in the 53rd minute after good build-up play, and again the pacey number 6 was able to sprint down the touchline and score in the corner. Zelinga could not find the mark again, but the Cheetahs held a comfortable 28-10 lead.

The Kings had something to celebrate when De Wet popped over a drop-kick from way out to pull his side within 15 points at 28-13 down.

The Cheetahs hit back immediately as replacement forward Charles Marais scored in the corner. Fellow replacement Niel Marais could not make the conversion, but the Cheetahs restored their big lead at 33-13 ahead.

Neil Marais finished off another well-worked Cheetahs move in the 69th minute, and the player was unable to convert his own try. The Cheetahs lead had swelled to 38-13 by that stage with just over 10 minutes remaining.

Lee produced a moment of individual brilliance as he put in a grubber kick before out-sprinting the Kings defence and gathering to score under the poles. From in front, Neil Marais was able to nudge over the conversion for a 45-13 lead.

The riot continued for the Cheetahs as powerful prop Ox Nche nudged off a defender to score the try that brought up the fifty for the Cheetahs. Neil Marais slotted the conversion to make it 52-13.

Berton Klaasen scored a consolation try for the Kings to make it 52-18.

Again the Cheetahs hit straight back as Charles Marais ran over for his second try of the match. The hosts had their lead balloon to 57-18 with just over a minute remaining.

The Kings would have the final say as Vincent Jobo scored in the corner, with Kobus Marais nailing the conversion to make the final score 57-25.

Final Score EP Kings 25 (10) Cheetahs 57 (23)


EP Kings
Tries: JC Greyling., Berton Klaasen, Vincent Jobo.
Conversion: Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Kobus Marais.
Penalty: De Wet.
Drop-kick: De Wet

Tries: Nico Lee (2), Tom Botha, Paul Schoeman (2), Charles Marais (2), Neil Marais, Ox Nche.
Conversions: Fred Zelinga, Neil Marais (2).
Penalties: Zelinga (2).

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