The Cheetahs erased a half-time deficit to claim a 28-9 bonus-point win over Griquas in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
With nothing riding on the outcome of this match, it was stripped of all significance. This is because the Vodacom Bulls had already been crowned Super Rugby Unlocked champions moments before kick-off in this match.
Be that as it may, both the Cheetahs and Griquas would have played for pride and for a confidence-boosting win in the lead-up to the Currie Cup.
The Cheetahs were on the board first via a well-taken try by Andisa Ntsila, but Griquas reduced the deficit when Tinus de Beer succeeded with a penalty.
The game was well balanced at that stage before the hosts reinstated their five-point lead with a penalty of their own.
Griquas started to dominate in the second quarter and were rewarded with six points off the boot of De Beer for deserved 9-8 lead at the midway mark.
Going behind didn’t sit well with the Cheetahs and they came out firing in the second half.
Stern defence frustrated Griquas, who on their part looked frail defensively.
Centre Howard Mnisi went over for the Cheetahs’ second try and American international Ruben de Haas crashed over for their third try, which was preceeded by a penalty.
That 13-point swing took the sail out of Griquas’ fight. And the Cheetahs would go on to grab a fourth score on the stroke of full time to, in the end, wrap up a convincing bonus-point triumph and with that draw the curtain on Super Rugby Unlocked.
Cheetahs – Tries: Andisa Ntsila, Howard Mnisi, Ruben de Haas, Jeandre Rudolph. Conversion: Tian Schoeman. Penalties: Schoeman (3).
Griquas – Penalties: Tinus de Beer (3).
Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rhyno Smith, 13 Howard Mnisi, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 Junior Pokomela (c)/Aidon Davis, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Boan Venter.
Subs: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Cameron Dawson, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Oupa Mohoje, 20 Aidon Davis/Chris Massyn, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 William Small-Smith.
Griquas – 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Johnathan Francke, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Carl Els, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Adré Smith, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 HJ Luus, 1 Mox Mxoli.
Subs: Monde Hadebe, Andrew Beerwinkel, Madot Mabokela, Ewan Coetzee, CJ Velleman, Theo Maree, André Swarts, Daniel Kasende, Bandisa Ndlovu, Sibabalo Qoma, Ashlon Davids.