Griquas came from behind to romp to a 52-24 bonus-point victory over the Free State Cheetahs in Kimberley on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
Griquas were well worth their win as they produced a powerful second-half performance after trailing by 10 points at the break. Replacement scrumhalf Zak Burger impressed, while flyhalf George Whitehead had a flawless day off the tee.
The win brings Griquas to within three points of the Pumas, who sit in fifth position on the log, while the Cheetahs remain rooted to the bottom.
It was the visitors who started strongly, taking just five minutes to score the opening try as flank Daniel Maartens drew in a defender and passed to wing Ali Mgijima, who trotted into the corner.
However, the home side struck back minutes later when wing Ederies Arendse picked a perfect line to run on to a pass from scrumhalf Christiaan Meyer to score under the posts.
The Cheetahs regained the lead when hooker Reinach Venter produced a brilliant offload to centre Carel-Jan Coetzee, who juggled the ball to dot down for the visitors’ second. Coetzee then grabbed his brace when he linked nicely with centre partner Tertius Kreuger, who made a break and set him away for a neatly worked try.
The Cheetahs halfback pairing of Rudy Paige and Ernst Stapelberg was what won the game for them, as they controlled it nicely with some well-placed kicks.
Stapelberg kicked a monster penalty from behind the halfway line to extend his side’s lead, which was cut just before half-time as replacement prop FP Pelser forced his way over from close range.
Shortly into the second half, a break from Enver Brandt saw Griquas go close, before Pelser burst over for his second try to bring the hosts to within three points of the lead. Brandt then intercepted a loose pass from Free State to put his side ahead.
The hosts were much improved after the break and extended their lead when replacement hooker AJ le Roux burst through a gap to score.
Flyhalf Whitehead then kicked a penalty to give Griquas some security going into the final 10 minutes, before captain and centre Kyle Steyn went over out wide to all but seal the match for the home side.
With time up, Griquas kept attacking and piled further misery on the visitors when Burger picked up the ball from the base of a ruck and sprinted 22m to score.
Griquas – Tries: Ederies Arendse, FP Pelser (2), Enver Brandt, AJ le Roux, Kyle Steyn, Zak Burger. Conversions: George Whitehead (7). Penalty: Whitehead.
Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Ali Mgijima, Carel-Jan Coetzee (2). Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg (3). Penalty: Stapelberg.
Griquas – 15 AJ Coertzen, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Kyle Steyn (c), 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Christiaan Meyer, 8 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Eital Bredenkamp, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren, 4 Wandile Putuma, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Liam Hendricks.
Subs: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 18 FP Pelser, 19 Wendal Wehr, 20 Zak Burger, 21 Stephan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Christopher Bosch.
Free State Cheetahs – 15 Adriaan Carelse, 14 Ali Mgijima, 13 Carel-Jan Coetzee, 12 Tersius Kruger, 11 Vuyani Maqina, 10 Ernst Stapelberg, 9 Rudy Paige (c), 8 Stephan Malan, 7 Abongile Nonkontwana, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Dennis Visser, 4 Louis Conradie, 3 Gunther Janse van Vuuren, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Johan Kotze.
Subs: 16 Kevin Stevens, 17 Jannes Snyman, 18 Stefan van Schalkwyk, 19 Nardus Erasmus, 20 Luigy van Jaarsveld, 21 Dian Badenhorst, 22 Ryno Eksteen.
Photo: Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images