Coenie Oosthuizen scored a hat-trick as the Cheetahs secured a 33-26 victory against Griquas in Bloemfontein.
It was an improved performance after a lacklustre display in their 25-11 defeat against Western Province a week ago. The Cheetahs boasted greater physicality, especially on defence, while they also converted most of their try-scoring opportunities – something they failed to do against Province last Saturday.
Conversely, Griquas were weak on defence while they weren’t much better on attack. They showed signs of promise with ball in hand but they lacked the composure to turn their scoring opportunities into points.
The Cheetahs opened their tally in the eighth minute through centre Robert Ebersohn after capitalising on Sarel Pretorius’s mistake. The Griquas scrumhalf tracked back to cover a kick but his inside pass was intercepted by wing Philip Snyman. The speedster offloaded to Ebersohn and he ran in at the corner. Flyhalf Louis Strydom added the extras.
Griquas skipper Naas Olivier and fullback Riaan Viljoen kicked a penalty each but loosehead prop Coenie Oosthuizen crossed the chalk as he burst through two defenders to secure a 14-6 lead for the Cheetahs at half-time.
Oosthuizen scored again shortly after the restart as he bumped off three tackle attempts to give the hosts a 15-point cushion. Griquas hit back through in-form wing Bjorn Basson after good backline interplay but the Cheetahs continued to build momentum and scored two more tries through wing Jongi Nokwe and Oosthuizen to seal a four-try bonus point and the win.
In the closing stages, Ashley Johnson spoilt his impressive outing by picking up a yellow card as he elbowed Basson off the ball and in the air. With a one-man advantage, Pretorius managed to score a consolation try for the visitors, which allowed Olivier to gift Griquas a losing bonus point as he slotted a last-minute penalty.
By Gareth Duncan