Frans Steyn kicked 17 points as the Cheetahs rounded off their ill-fated Currie Cup campaign with a 22-18 victory over Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.
In a game that drew the curtain on both sides’ respective Currie Cup campaigns, Griquas and the Cheetahs went toe to toe, before the visitors ultimately seized control of the contest.
It was by no means an exciting match, but was closely fought which made matters slightly interesting.
Griquas thought they had opened the scoring in the third minute after crossing the line with from an unstoppable driving maul, but after a review it was confirmed that hooker Alandre van Rooyen had lost control of the ball in the in-goal area before grounding it.
That meant the first quarter flew by with no points scored. But the Cheetahs would draw first blood when hooker Marnus van der Merwe’s strong leg drive helped him breach Griquas’ staunch defence for the first try of the game.
As the match dragged on, Tinus de Beer landed back-to-back penalties to make it a one-point game, but Frans Steyn booted the Cheetahs back into the lead with a penalty on the stroke of half time that made it 10-6 in the visiting team’s favour.
The Cheetahs created a few scoring opportunities early in the second half, but were left frustrated by Griquas’ continued resilience in defence. To make matters worse, the home side then scored at the first opportunity inside their own half to retake the lead.
But then it went south real quick for the hosts, as their discipline simply evaporated. Between the 48th and 64th minute, Griquas conceded eight consecutive penalties, three of which Steyn effortlessly converted into nine points to once again put his team in the driving seat.
At that point, the game seemed to be wrapped up in the Cheetahs’ favour, but with six minutes remaining, Griquas reduced the deficit to one after wing Daniel Kasende came around the corner at a ruck and latched on to a deft pass from scrumhalf Zak Burger to dot down, while replacement George Whitehead added the conversion.
But, yet again, with his side under pressure and on the back foot, Steyn proved he’s the man for the big occassion. The veteran centre hoofed a fifth penalty to push the lead out to four points, which was especially vital when Griquas launched one last attack close to the tryline but had to opt against a penalty kick because they needed a try at the death. As it were, the Cheetahs withstood the onslaught to hold on for victory.
Griquas – Tries: Gideon van der Merwe, Daniel Kasende. Conversion: George Whitehead. Penalties: Tinus de Beer (2).
Cheetahs – Try: Marnus van der Merwe. Conversion: Frans Steyn. Penalties: Steyn (5).
Griquas – 15 James Verity-Amm, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Zak Burger (c), 8 Johan Momsen, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Adre Smith, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 Alandre van Rooyen, 1 Mox Mxoli.
Subs (from): 16 CJ Conradie, 17 Bandisa Ndlovu, 18 Tijde Visser, 19 Ewan Coetzee, 20 Siba Qoma, 21 Ashlon Davids, 22 George Whitehead, 23 Ederies Arendse, 24 Andrew Beerwinkel, 25 Raegan Oranje, 26 Masixole Banda.
Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Reinhardt Fortuin, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 George Cronje, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Carl Wegner (c), 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Boan Venter.
Subs: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Cameron Dawson, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Victor Sekekete, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Rhyno Smith.