Port Elizabeth – The Free State Cheetahs will remain part of the Premier Division of next year’s Currie Cup competition after beating the Eastern Province Kings 16-6 in the second of the promotion/relegation matches in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
The visitors all but secured their place in their first playoff match in Bloemfontein, and only needed a single bonus point in the second encounter.
The Kings, however, produced a much better performance and were able to compete in the second fixture.
The Kings led 6-0 for most of the game and only a man short on defence created the overlap for the visitors to score the only try of the game.
The Kings opened the scoring in the fourth minute through a George Whitehead penalty.
Cheetahs Flyhalf Sias Ebersohn missed two penalties in the first 30 minutes, putting the visitors under even more pressure.
The turning point, it seemed, came in the 32nd minute when Kings scrumhalf Noel Oelschig was red carded for a punch.
The Cheetahs looked more settled in the second half and put together some probing attacks.
The Cheetahs scored their first points on the hour mark, to reduce the deficit to three points through a penalty.
It proved to be the catalyst for the visitors, as Ebersohn scored in the corner in the 62nd minute, after the Kings ran out of steam with one man short on the defence.
Scheepers converted and later slotted two penalties to give his side a 16-6 victory.
Penalties: George Whiteheadx2
Tries: Sias Ebersohn
Conversions: Nico Scheepers
Penalties: Nico Scheepersx3
15 Michael Killian, 14 Norman Nelson, 13 Paul Perez, 12 Siyabonga Mangweni, 11 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Falie Oelschig, 8 Devin Oosthuizen, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Conraad Britz, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Darron Nell (c), 3 Andre Schlechter, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Frank Herne, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 David Bullbring, 19 Mpho Mbiyozo, 20 Scott Mathie, 21 Wesley Dunlop, 22 Scott van Breda.
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Philip Snyman, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Davon Raubenheimer, 6 Hendro Scholtz, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Marcel van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Carl Wegner, 19 Hendrik Venter, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Barry Geel, 22 Nico Scheepers.