Cheetahs race to the top

Sat, 10 Sep 2016 16:51
Large fred zelinga cheetahs 800

REPORT: The Free State Cheetahs overtook the Sharks at the top of the Currie Cup standings, after beating them 38-30 in their Round Six encounter in Durban on Saturday.

The Cheetahs outscored the Sharks by five tries to two in a game where the home team relied mainly on the boot of young fullback Curwin Bosch to stay in touch.

The Cheetahs continued to employ their expansive strategy - which is far from being refined, but certainly entertaining to watch.

It was the Cheetahs first Currie Cup win in Durban since 2009 and their victory was based on a powerful performance from their forwards - with the visitors having the upper-hand in the scrums.

The Sharks opened the scoring thanks to an early penalty from Bosch.

But the Cheetahs' forwards were turning in a dominant performance and they were awarded a penalty try after the Cheetahs destroyed a Sharks' scrum five metres from the home team's tryline.

The Sharks' pack disintegrated and referee Rasta Rasivhenge had no hesitation in awarding the penalty try in the 11th minute.

The Sharks retook the lead as the first quarter ended thanks to two more Bosch penalties but the Cheetahs regained the lead in the 28th minute when inside centre Michael van der Spuy charged down a clearance kick from his opposite number Andre Esterhuizen before regathering the ball before crashing over for a converted try.

The visitors extended their lead when another scrum penalty against the hosts saw flyhalf Fred Zeilinga slot a successful penalty kick four minutes before the end of the half.

The Sharks had the final say in the half as Bosch slotted a long-range penalty on the stroke of half-time.

The Sharks opened the scoring in the second half thanks to Bosch's fifth successful penalty kick.

But the Cheetahs' pack of forwards once again played their part as a powerful scrum saw the Sharks' pack fall apart 10 metres from the own line with scrumhalf Tian Meyer kicking a loose ball forward before chasing the kick down to dot down for a converted try in the 48th minute.

Bosch narrowed the gap with yet another penalty, his sixth of the contest, but the Cheetahs struck back almost immediately when flank Uzair Cassiem crashed over for a converted try.

To make matters worse for the Sharks, flank Jean-Luc Du Preez was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle in the build-up to the try.

Despite being a man down the Sharks finally scored their first try when flank Francois Kleinhans muscled his way over from close range as the home team narrowed the gap to 31-25 after 60 minutes.

The Cheetahs reasserted their dominance less than two minutes later when replacement scrumhalf Shaun Venter stepped his way over for a try after a well-worked move from a line-out.

The hosts nabbed their second try when tighthead prop Thomas du Toit powered his way over for a try in the 70th minute.

The scorers:

For the Sharks:
Tries:
Kleinhans, Du Toit
Con: Bosch
Pens: Bosch 6

For the Cheetahs:
Tries:
Penalty try, Van der Spuy, Meyer, Cassiem, Venter
Cons: Zeilinga 5
Pen: Zeilinga

Yellow card: Jean-Luc du Preez (Sharks, 53 - foul play, dangerous tackle)

Teams:

Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Inny-Christian Radebe, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Philip van der Walt (captain), 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 17 John-Hubert Meyer, 18 Jean Droste, 19 Khaya Majola, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Wandile Mjekevu, 22 Rhyno Smith..

Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Ryno Benjamin, 13 Nico Lee, 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer (captain), 8 Henco Venter, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Jacques Du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Justin Basson, 19 Niell Jordaan, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Niel Marais, 22 Michael van der Spuy.

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs, Rodney Boneparte
TMO: Marius Jonker

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Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
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Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
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Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
RESULT SCORE
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16 | 10
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 35 | 16
UWC v Rhodes 88 | 8
TUT v WSU 13 | 17
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 20 | 15
Sun, 19 February 2017
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 46 | 31
Sale Sharks v Wasps 34 | 28
Sat, 18 February 2017
Connacht v Dragons 14 | 9
Ospreys v Munster 23 | 25
Leicester Tigers v Bristol 50 | 17
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 37 | 17
Bath v Harlequins 22 | 12
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 8 8 0 0 39
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
Western Province 8 5 0 3 27
Golden Lions 8 5 0 3 26
Sharks 8 5 0 3 25
Griquas 8 4 0 4 21
Boland 8 2 0 6 11
Pumas 8 1 0 7 10
EP Kings 8 0 0 8 1