Free State coach Schalk Malherbe praised fullback Riaan Britz after his side’s 32-13 win against the Blue Bulls.
The Cheetahs will now play Western Province in the unofficial final on Saturday. The teams met in the 2007 main match, with Free State winning 52-3.
Britz ignited the Cheetahs backline on Thursday, and breached the first line of defence almost every time he touched the ball. He had the final say in the match with a length-of-the-field intercept try with two minutes remaining.
‘The boys really stood up today and I am overjoyed with the win,’ Malherbe told keo.co.za. ‘Riaan was outstanding and counter-attacked superbly from the back. He made sure our players were always on the front foot.’
Malherbe also paid tribute to his pack.
‘We were significantly lighter than the Bulls but really took the game to them and physically dominated their tight five, which pleased me immensely,’ he said.
Malherbe acknowledged his side’s performance was far from complete, and that their lineouts will need special attention.
When asked about the prospect of facing a dangerous WP side, Malherbe said, ‘Province have been good all week, so we will have to nullify their expansive game and play to our strengths and structure.’
The unofficial final kicks off at 1pm on Saturday and will be televised live on SuperSport.
Border Rugby Union Stadium
07:45 – Zimbabwe vs Namibia
09:25 – SA Academy vs Lions
10:25 – KZN vs Blue Bulls
11:45 – Border vs Pumas
13:15 – Western Province vs Free State
Hudson Rugby Grounds
09:00 – Boland vs SA LSEN
10:20 – Valke vs Griffons
11:40 – Leopards vs Eastern Province
Port Rex Rugby Grounds
09:00 – Griquas CD vs Border CD
10:20 – Limpopo vs Griquas
11:40 – SWD vs Eastern Province CD
By Gareth Wright