Speckmagic sparks Cheetahs win
CURRIE CUP MATCH REPORT: Rosko Specman displayed his full array of magical Sevens skills as the Free State Cheetahs beat Western Province 30-17 in Bloemfontein on Sunday.
The four tries to two victory puts the defending champions right back at the top of the standings with their second-successive bonus-point victory.
The home side opened the scoring with an early try from Sevens star Rosco Speckman, with a superb solo effort from 60 metres out.
After fielding a Kurt Coleman punt, the BlitzBok star danced through four defenders before showing a clean pair of heals to reach the line.
Western Province opening their account shortly afterwards through a Kurt Coleman penalty to make it 5-3.
Two penalties from Cheetahs flyhalf Niel Marais took their lead out to 11-3 after the opening 20 minutes.
Western Province launched a period of dominance in response as they put the home team's defence under some serious pressure.
It eventually resulted in a yellow card for Cheetahs flank Teboho Mohoje for a cynical infringement at a maul and Western Province looked to have taken advantage by driving over the line. However, the try was disallowed by the referee.
Despite that setback Western Province stuck to their guns and got a deserved try which was well-taken by scrumhalf Justin Phillips, following a powerful scrum.
However, the home side would have the final say in the first half as centre William Small-Smith scored to take their lead out to 18-10 at half-time.
The Free State side struck early in the second half as captain Francois Venter scored to extend their advantage to 25-10.
The home side secured the bonus point when wing Makazole Mapimpi touched down in the corner, leaving Western Province with it all to do in the last 30 minutes.
Western Province coach John Dobson rang the changes as a number of replacements took the field in the final stages and it would be flank Steph de Wit to score on his Western Province debut with less than seven minutes left.
Despite throwing everything at their opponents, Western Province could not find a way through and will now set their sights on their clash with the Pumas at Newlands next week.
Cheetahs who were full value for their bonus point win.
Man of the match: Seabelo Senatla showed that he is growing into the 15-man code and was by some distance Western Province's most productive player. Kings import Makazole Mapimpi is also going to a massive assert to the Cheetahs and Clayton Blommetjies had one of his better games of the season. Our award goes to the Cheetahs' flying wing Rosko Specman - who showed Bloemfontein and all those who cared to turn on their television why he is such a sensation on the Sevens circuit
For the Free State Cheetahs:
Tries: Specman, Small-Smith, F Venter, Mapimpi
Cons: Marais 2
Pens: Marais 2
For Western Province:
Tries: Phillips, De Wit
Cons: Coleman, Thomson
Yellow card: Teboho Mohoje (Free State Cheetahs, 32 - cynical foul, collapsing the maul)
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rosco Specman, 13 Francois Venter, 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Neill Jordaan, 5 Daniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 17 Reinach Venter, 18 Rynier Bernardo, 19 Henco Venter, 20 Mthokozisi Mkhabela, 21 Ryno Benjamin, 22 Malcolm Jaer.
Western Province: 15 Sarel Marais, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Michael Hazner, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 John Shickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Steph de Wit, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Brandon Thomson.
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Jaco Kotze, Griffin Colby
TMO: JJ Wagner with Lourens van der Merwe