Cheetahs' unbeaten record 'counts for nothing'

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 17:12
Large uzair cassiem cheetahs v pumas 800

REACTION: The Free State Cheetahs' unbeaten record will count for nothing if they do not start playing an 80-minute game.

In a thrilling penultimate round, the Cheetahs recorded their seventh straight victory - defeating the hapless Pumas 52-10 in Nelspruit.

The victory ensured the Cheetahs will finish the regular season in the No.1 position in the standings - getting home-ground advantage in the semifinal and possible Final.

It was one-way traffic in Nelspruit for the tournament's pacesetters, the Cheetahs.

Sevens Springbok Ryno Benjamin crossed the tryline in the seventh minute for the first of the team's eight tries, which also paved the way for his hat-trick.

It was also a rewarding outing for flank Paul Schoeman, who scored a brace.
 
Such was the Cheetahs' dominance they scored five first-half tries, while they limited the hosts to a penalty goal for a 31-3 lead.

They continued this fine form in the second half and added three more tries to their total.

However, they took their foot off the gas in the final quarter - allowing the home a consolation try in the 71st minute.

That is what concerns Cheetahs coach Franco Smith most.

He said their unbeaten record will not count for anything in the play-offs.

"It is nice [to be unbeaten], but our goal is to play better every week," Smith said.

"There were some good aspects, but I am a little disappointed that we took our foot off the gas towards the end.

"We weren't as clinical as we should have been," he said, adding that they will need to play for 80 minutes or they will come unstuck in the play-offs.

The Cheetahs complete their league fixtures when they host neighbours Griquas in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

@rugby365com

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Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 9 8 0 1 39
Free State Cheetahs 8 5 0 3 25
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Western Province 8 4 0 4 22
Pumas 9 4 0 5 22
Blue Bulls 8 3 0 5 20
Griquas 9 2 0 7 16