The Free State Cheetahs scored a 36-25 bonus-point win against 14-man Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
Griquas were forced to play 55 minutes of this match with only 14 men, and this had a bearing on the result. While they remained competitive, they were never going to win the battle on the scoreboard without their full compliment.
Griquas No 8 Carel Greeff received a yellow card for a professional foul in the 14th minute. Another sanction for a similar offence in the 35th minute resulted in Greeff being ejected from the contest.
The Cheetahs led 15-3 at half-time. Griquas battled bravely in the second stanza, especially on defence, but ultimately they only succeeded in delaying the inevitable.
Tian Meyer charged down an attempted clearance and scored, while a further Dean Grant penalty gave the hosts' hope. When Martin Bezuidenhout rounded off a brilliant try and Grant added the extras, an unlikely victory seemed within their reach.
But this galvanised the Cheetahs, who proceeded to score two quick tries in succession. Clayton Blommetjies finished beautifully in the left-hand corner, while Tienie Burger claimed the bonus-point for the visitors when he scored from the back of a rolling maul. A further try by Jean Cook secured the victory.
The result sees Free State picking up their second win in the competition and moving up the overall log. Griquas have yet to win a game after four rounds.
Griquas – Tries: Tian Meyer, Martin Bezuidenhout, Ederies Arendse. Conversions: Dean Grant (2). Penalties: Grant (2).
Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Francois Uys, Ryno Benjamin, Clayton Blommetjies, Tienie Burger, Jean Cook. Conversions: Willie du Plessis, Pieter-Steyn de Wet (3). Penalty: Du Plessis.
Griquas – 15 Francois Brummer, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Wayne Stevens (c), 11 PJ Vermeulen, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Ruan Lerm, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Jonathan Adendorf, 3 Ewald Van Der Westhuizen, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Steph Roberts.
Subs: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Janro Van Niekerk, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Burger Schoeman, 20 Abrie Griesel, 21 Doppies La Grange, 22 Rocco Jansen.
Free State Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Neil Claassen, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Henco Venter, 3 Dolph Botha, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (c), 1 Kevin Stevens.
Subs: 16 AJ Le Roux, 17 George Marich, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 JP du Plessis.
Photo: Louis Botha/Gallo Images