The Cheetahs showed why they are top of the Currie Cup log, with a second-half blitz enough for the Free Staters to down Western Province on Wednesday in Bloemfontein.
Trailing 0-3 at half time, the hosts finally opened their account in the 46th minute when Marnus van der Merwe crossed the whitewash from a well-executed maul, before Ruan Pienaar added the extras.
Sergeal Petersen hit back for WP with a magnificent counter-attack, but his effort was ruled out following a TMO review, before the Cheetahs doubled their lead after another powerful surge from the engine room ended with Gideon van der Merwe dotting down.
WP closed the gap to 14-10 when Angelo Davids capped off some incredible team interplay, but the visitors finished with 14 men after skipper Nama Xaba was yellow-carded.
The Cheetahs made their numerical advantage count, with Reinhardt Fortuin finishing in the end zone after a beautiful offload from Frans Steyn, a late touchdown for WP’s Roelof Smit not enough to upset Hawies Fourie’s unbeaten side as they won 24-17.
A monster Kade Wolhuter three-pointer broke the deadlock in the 18th minute, the WP sharpshooter splitting the uprights from 60 metres that would’ve even impressed Steyn.
WP made a strong start and dominated territory early on, with Davids and Mnombo Zwelendaba regularly breaking the first tackle. The visitors had several opportunities to ignite their attack from lineout play, but poor handling let them down and cost them valuable possession.
Cheetahs’ hearts would’ve been in their mouths in the 35th minute as WP’s Tristan Leyds attempted a 50/22 kick, only for the ball to sneak past the outside of the corner flag, before JJ Kotze’s failed attempt at a behind-the-back pass on the stroke of half time summed up Province’s desperation to extend their meagre lead.
End to end action + isiXhosa commentary = 𝙋𝙪𝙧𝙚 𝙀𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙩𝙖𝙞𝙣𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 in the world of rugby 👌 and we’re here for it 👏😂 pic.twitter.com/YDGJ09CazF
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) March 16, 2022