Griquas run Cheetahs ragged
CURRIE CUP MATCH REPORT: Griquas finally moved off the bottom of the standings with a bonus-point win over central unions rivals the Free State Cheetahs in Kimberley in Saturday.
The home team held a narrow 24-17 lead at the end of a competitive first half (three tries to two), but cut loose in the second half to score five more scintillating tries and ran out 59-24 winners.
The Cheetahs remain second on the Currie Cup log, but will slip to third if Western Province beat the Blue Bulls at Loftus on Sunday.
If the Bulls win, Griquas will slips back to the last place on the standings.
The 35-7 margin of the second half is testimony to just how the hosts dominated after the break.
Cheetahs' lack of discipline - two yellow cards - certainly did not help their cause either.
The Cheetahs actually held a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and drew levels (24-all) early in the second half.
However, in the last half-hour the home team score 35 unanswered points - five tries.
Griquas are still last, but will take a lot of confidence from this performance, even it if came against weakened opposition. Centre Tertius Kruger and wing Kyle Steyn, in particular, were superb.
The hosts dominated the opening exchanges of this match, and signalled their attacking intentions when they kicked a penalty to touch in search of a try. When they were awarded another penalty, George Whitehead made as if he was going for touch again, but instead took a quick tap and put Sias Koen over for a converted try.
An excellent counter-attack from inside Free State's 22 should have resulted in a try at the other end of the field, but Robbie Petzer knocked over the line. It didn't prove too costly, though, as Joseph Dweba picked up the ball from the back of a ruck soon after and raced away for his first Currie Cup try.
The visitors struck again in the 15th minute when a sustained attack finished with Petzer running around a defender and passing inside to Chris Dry.
Griquas responded with two converted tries in quick succession to take a 21-14 lead.
First, Christiaan Meyer took a quick penalty tap and darted over to score. Then, Kruger broke away from inside his half, found Meyer and regained possession. The outside centre was tackled just short of the line, but able to pop a pass to Wendal Wehr.
Dennis Visser then paid the price for repeated Free State infringements when he was yellow-carded, but the teams only exchanged penalties while he was off the field.
It took the Cheetahs' just over two minutes of the second half to level the scores. Mthokozisi Mkhabela was high tackled short of the line, lost the ball backwards and Cecil Afrika picked it up to score.
Kruger then had a try ruled out by the TMO, but the midfielder did get his side's bonus-point try in the 50th minute to make it 31-24.
Abraham le Roux went over from a line-out driving maul, and when Enver Brandt had the pace to evade Afrika, the hosts were out to a 21-point lead with 13 minutes remaining.
Griquas weren't done yet, though, with late tries from Pretorius and Adriaan Coertzen wrapping up a convincing win.
Man of the match: You can take your pick from about 20 players in the two teams. Our stand-outs were Adriaan Coertzen, Tertius Kruger and Chris Dry - to name but a few. However, we feel Griquas flyhalf George Whitehead was the general that directed the troops best when it mattered most.
Tries: Koen, Meyer, Wehr, Kruger, Le Roux, Brandy, Pretorius, Coertzen
Cons: Whitehead 5, Swarts 3
For the Free State Cheetahs:
Tries: Dweba, Dry, Afrika
Cons: Petzer 3
Yellow card: Dennis Visser (Free State Cheetahs, 28 - repeated infringements, offside at the breakdown), Nicolaas Immelman (Free State Cheetahs, 79 - foul play, hitting opponent in the face)
Griquas: 15 Adriaan Coertzen (captain), 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Johnathan Francke, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Christiaan Meyer, 8 Conway Pretorius, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 Floris Pelser, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 Abraham Le Roux, 1 Liam Hendricks.
Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Louwrens Strydom, 18 Wandile Putuma, 19 Shaun McDonald, 20 DeWet Kruger, 21 Renier Botha, 22 Andre Swarts.
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Vuyani Maqina, 13 Ali Mgijima, 12 Lloyd Greeff, 11 Cecil Afrika, 10 Robbie Petzer, 9 Zee Mkhabela, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Chris Dry (captain), 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Dennis Visser, 3 Erich de Jager, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Gert Kotze.
Replacements: 16 Reinach Venter, 17 Andrew Kuhn, 18 Jeremy Jordaan, 19 Nicolaas Immelman, 20 Juan-Philip Smith, 21 Stephan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Jacobus Jonker.
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Mpho Matsaung and Griffin Colby
TMO: JJ Wagner