Cheetahs in scrappy Bloem win
CURRIE CUP MATCH REPORT: The Cheetahs got their 2022 campaign off to a winning start, beating a gritty Griquas 30-20 in a scrappy affair in the season-opener in Bloemfontein.
Outscoring the visitors by three tries to two, the Cheetahs will know that they were simply not clinical enough.
The numerous mistakes on both side will ensure Monday’s video reviews will not make for pleasant viewing.
* Did you miss the action? To recap the drama, CLICK HERE!
After holding the ball up over their own line and then driving Cheetahs back into their own half from the goalline drop-out, Griquas opened the scoring with a Zandre du Plessis penalty in the eighth minute.
The Cheetahs replied with a Ruan Pienaar penalty in the 12th minute. The Cheetahs skipper gave his team the lead in the `18th minute, slotting another penalty.
The first try came just past the half-hour mark, when hooker Marnus van Merwe burst over from a line-out maul five metres out. Pienaar added the conversion – 13-3.
Pienaar slotted another penalty five minutes before the break to stretch that lead to 16-3.
The Cheetahs now turned up the heat and centre David Brits sprinted over for the second try, after gaps started appearing in the visitors’ defensive lines. Pienaar’s conversion made it 23-3.
That is how it stayed till half-time, despite a late rally by the visitors – which included a try being overturned for a forward pass.
Griquas got their reward early in the second half, a massive line-out drive that destroyed any semblance of defence the Cheetahs put up. Ruan Steenkamp finally dotted down and Du Plessis added the conversion – 10-23.
The Cheetahs made a great effort to hit straight back – Craig Barry strolling over on the right wing, from a well-executed set-piece move. The call went to the TMO, who ruled that he had stepped out just before dotting down.
Du Plessis narrowed the gap to 10 points (13-23) with a penalty in the 54th minute.
The Cheetahs finally got the try they so desperately searched for, when replacement Louis van der Westhuizen barged over from a line-out drive five metres out. Pienaar added the conversion – 30-13.
Two minutes from the end Luther Obi went over on the left wing, barely making it to the line before cramps got the better of him. Du Plessis added the conversion – making it a 10-point game again, 20-30, in the end.
Man of the match: For a willing Griquas team Zander du Plessis, Stefan Ungerer, captain Ruan Steenkamp and replacement Raegan Oranje were impressive. The booming boots of Cheetahs backs Clayton Blommetjies and Frans Steyn often drove Griquas back deep into their own half. Flank Gideon van der Merwe, an off-season signing from Griquas, was one of the Cheetahs’ most impressive forwards. Our award goes to Cheetahs captain and scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar – for his leadership, decision-making, tactical appreciation and kicking – adding 15 points with three conversions and three penalties.
For the Cheetahs
Tries: M van der Merwe, Brits, Van der Westhuizen
Cons: Pienaar 3
Pens: Pienaar 3
Tries: Steenkamp, Obi
Cons: Du Plessis 2
Pens: Du Plessis 2
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 David Brits, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 Chris Smit, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Mihlali Mosi, 7 Aidon Davis, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Marné Coetzee, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Sergio Moreira, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Rewan Kruger, 22 Robert Ebersohn, 23 Malcolm Jaer.
Griquas: 15 Ashlon Davids 14 Munier Hartzenberg, 13 Christopher Hollis, 12 Rynhardt Jonker, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Zander du Plessis, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruan Steenkamp (captain), 7 Siba Qoma, 6 Niel Otto, 5 Derik Pretorius, 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 Janu Botha, 2 Alandre van Rooyen, 1 Eddie Davids.
Replacements: 16 Janco Uys, 17 Kudzwai Dube, 18 Justin Forwood, 19 Johan Retief, 20 Michael Amiras, 21 Raegan Oranje, 22 Theo Boshoff, 23 Sango Xamlashe.
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Griffin Colby and Clearance Khumalo
TMO: Ben Crouse