Steyn battled to hold back the tears
CURRIE CUP REACTION: Two-time World Cup winner Francois Steyn battled to hold back the tears after the Cheetahs’ defeat to Western Province in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
A heartbreaking 29-31 home loss eliminated the defending Currie Cup champions from the Currie Cup.
The title-holders were clinging to a one-point lead in a sixth-round thriller when they conceded a scrum penalty as the clock ticked to 80 minutes.
Up stepped England-born Province flyhalf Tim Swiel to score off an angled penalty from between the 22 and 10-metre lines and snatch victory for the visitors from Cape Town.
Steyn gave another flawless goal-kicking display with a seven-from-seven record for the Cheetahs for the second successive weekend in the 129-year-old Currie Cup, but it was not enough in the end.
“I am gutted,” admitted Steyn as he battled to hold back tears while accepting the man-of-the-match award.
“Nothing seems to be going our way. We fought so hard to get in front only to lose at the death. It is a bitterly disappointing outcome.”
Cheetahs head coach Hawies Fourie expressed his disappointment with the way his team went down at the Free State Stadium.
“It is tough to lose this way. If you are the winning team it’s the nicest way to win but if you’re the losing team I think that is the worst way to do it,” said Fourie.
“We played a lot better in the second half. We got a bit more possession and the backs used it properly, so I was happy with the effort in the second half.”
Title favourites the Bulls, who had a bye, and Province, the teams with the most successful Currie Cup records, have 35 points each.
The Bulls host the Lions on Wednesday and visit the Pumas next weekend while Province have home advantage over the Sharks in a match set to decide who finishes second and gets a home semifinal.
Assuming they finish first, the Jake White-coached Bulls will host the other semifinal and, if successful, the January 23 Final as well.
Additional source: AFP