Despite being outmuscled up front at times, the Free State Cheetahs showed enough class to register a deserved 37-22 win over the Eastern Province Kings in their Currie Cup clash at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
The match was evenly poised at half-time when the Cheetahs led 16-10, but they made excellent use of their attacking opportunities in the second half to score three more tries after the break, always keeping daylight between themselves and their opponents.
Any mistakes and defensive lapses by the Kings were swiftly seized on by the Cheetahs as scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, celebrating his 100th Currie Cup game, flyhalf Willie du Plessis and wing Raymond Rhule all crossed for tries to make the game safe at 37-15 with seven minutes remaining.
The Kings showed great endeavour to cross for their third try in the 78th minute when replacement centre Dwayne Jenner finished off a series of attacks with a try next to the posts. The game ended with EP again on the attack, but it was too little, too late as they again paid the penalty for committing errors at crucial times.
The Kings showed their commitment, however, playing the match with 14 men for 20 minutes after hooker Martin Ferreira and lock Darron Nell were both shown yellow cards. The Cheetahs, leading 13-10 when Ferreira went to the bin, could not capitalise fully on his absence despite having a five-metre lineout. When their drive was held up, they had a five-metre scrum but the Kings then pushed them off the ball to earn a penalty, eliminating the immediate danger.
However, with Du Plessis showing accurate kicking form, the Cheetahs always had the edge and the flyhalf added three penalties and three conversions to his try for a personal contribution of 20 points. Their opening try came from centre Francois Venter, engineered by Pretorius and Rhule, and Du Plessis added the conversion and three penalties for their first half points.
Down 13-3, the Kings struck back with a magnificent try by wing Ntabeni Dukisa when he made the most of quick distribution down the left flank and put in a solo run from about 50 metres, bamboozling the visiting defence to score under the poles.
The home side produced another fine try by Siyanda Grey in the second half, but the Cheetahs’ lethal strikes nearly every time they visited the Kings’ 22-metre area proved the difference in the end.
Article source: http://thenewage.co.za/138234-10-53-Cheetahs_edge_winless_Kings