The Free State Cheetahs strengthened their play-off hopes with a 37-22 bonus-point win over the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth.
The Cheetahs made good use of some early indiscipline from the hosts to move into a 6-0 lead after 16 minutes courtesy of two Willie du Plessis penalties. Gary van Aswegen halved the deficit with a penalty of his own before Francois Venter went over under the posts for the Cheetahs' first try.
The Kings would hit back after Ntabeni Dukisa ran all of 60m for a superb solo effort that left the Cheetahs defenders clutching at thin air. Kings hooker Martin Ferreira saw yellow shortly thereafter, as Du Plessis slotted another penalty to give the visitors a 16-10 lead at the break.
As they did against the Sharks last weekend, the Cheetahs struck shortly after the break, with Sarel Pretorius celebrating his 100th Currie Cup match with a try.
Darron Nell then saw yellow for the Kings after collapsing the Cheetahs maul, as ill-discipline threatened to derail the hosts' challenge not for the first time this season. Siyanda Grey lifted the spirits of the home side with a try, but further tries by Willie du Plessis and Raymond Rhule for the Cheetahs put the game beyond doubt.
The Kings would have the last say, however, as Dwayne Jenner went over in the 78th minute following continued pressure on the Cheetahs line.
For all their efforts, the Kings remain rooted to the foot of the Currie Cup log with a solitary point, while the Cheetahs moved above the Sharks into fourth place.
EP Kings – Tries: Ntabeni Dukisa, Siyanda Grey, Dwayne Jenner. Conversions: Gary van Aswegen, Scott van Breda. Penalty: Van Aswegen.
FS Cheetahs – Tries: Francois Venter, Sarel Pretorius, Willie du Plessis, Raymond Rhule. Conversions: Willie du Plessis (3), Pieter-Steyn de Wet. Penalties: Willie du Plessis (3).
EP Kings – 15 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Ntabeni Dukisa, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Devin Oosthuizen, 6 Shaun McDonald, 5 Darron Nell, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Albe de Swardt, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Steven Cummins, 19 Stefan Willemse, 20 Tobie Botes, 21 Dwayne Jenner, 22 Scott van Breda.
FS Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 JP du Plessis, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Lappies Labuschagne, 7 Neil Claassen, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Henco Venter, 3 George Marich, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (c), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Dolph Botha, 18 Brendon Groenewald, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 AJ Coertzen.
Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images