The Cheetahs ran in seven tries to absolutely roast Griquas 51-10 in Bloemfontein.
The hosts bossed the entire game, and could have expected a greater points return than the 51 they were able to accumulate. They’ll point to a lack of opportunism and poor option taking in the first half for that, but will be encouraged by their excellent second half showing.
Griquas were ferocious in their breakdown contesting in the opening quarter, which stifled the Cheetahs fluency, and also stood up well in defence early on, sticking the vast majority of their first-time tackles, especially when the Cheetahs had engineered an overlap.
The Cheetahs gradually gained the territorial and possession ascendency, and eventually cracked the defence when Jonathan Mokuena rounded off a move that saw Marius Joubert cut through the 12/13 channel before dishing inside to the Springbok Sevens star.
Their second five pointer had a Harlem Globetrotters feel about it, with Giscard Pieters, Willem de Waal and Joubert all displaying
sublime ball skills to craft the overlap for Heinrich BrÃ¼ssow to power over in the corner.
The flanker was omnipresent throughout the match and was well supported by Corniel van Zyl, who was a commanding prescence in the lineouts.
A mix up between Falie Oelschig and Philip Burger allowed however allowed Zane Kirchener to collect his own box kick and sprint home from 45m. Conrad Barnard sunk a wobbly conversion to draw his side within a converted try.
The Bloemfontein outfit would’ve felt that scoreline didn’t truly reflect their dominance in the latter stages of the first half.
Coach Naka Drotske would’ve drove home the message that he wanted them to execute the basics and they seemed to have adhered to that game plan, building up patiently through the phases before looking to exploit holes in the defence.
Burger gained redemption for his earlier error with an inspired second half performance. He sunk a 35m drop goal before serving as the catalyst for move which culminated in Richardt Strauss crossing for his fifth try of the tournament.
The final scene of the Burger show saw him blitz the Griquas defence on a blindside move off a scrum and later threw a stupendous pass in the build up to the final try of the match.
At 32-10 the match was effectively over, and Griquas never had the ammunition to overhaul the hefty deficit.
Griquas’ set phase play started to crumble under pressure, which stifled their ability to get back into the match and the Cheetahs became more ruthless as the half wore on, running in three more tries through BrÃ¼ssow, Richardt Strauss, Tewis de Bruyn and a long range effort finished off by Alwyn Hollenbach.
Cheetahs - Try: Jonathan Mokuena, Heinrich BrÃ¼ssow (2), Richardt Strauss, Philip Burger, Tewis de Bruyn, Alwyn Hollenbach. Conversions: Willem de Waal (3), Tewis de Bruyn. Penalty: De Waal. Drop Goal: Philip Burger
Griquas – Try: Zane Kirchener. Conversion: Conrad Barnard. Penalty: Barnard
Cheetahs - 15 Philip Burger, 14 Giscard Pieters, 13 Marius Joubert, 12 Hendrik Meyer, 11 Gavin Passens, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Falie Oelschig, 8 Jonathan Mokuena, 7 Duanne Vermeulen, 6 Heinrich BrÃ¼ssow, 5 Corniel van Zyl, 4 Rory Duncan, 3 Kobus Calldo, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Wian du Preez.
Subs: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Ollie le Roux, 18 David de Villiers, 19 Darron Nell, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Alwyn Hollenbach.
Griquas - 15 Zane Kirchener, 14 Baldwin McBean, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Danie de Beer, 11 MJ Mentz, 10 Conrad Barnard, 9 Tobie Botes, 8 Frans Viljoen, 7 Gareth Krause (c), 6 Jacques Burger, 5 Brendon Snyman, 4 Ockie van Zyl, 3 Eugene van Staden, 2 Hans van Dyk, 1 Regardt Dreyer.
Subs: 16 Louwtjie Louw, 17 Bees Roux, 18 Cilliers Coetzer/Evan Botha, 19 Wayne van Heerden, 20 Eben Olivier, 21 Tiger Mangweni/Darryl Coeries, 22 Lafras Uys.