Cheetahs conquer Bulls

GARETH DUNCAN watched the Free State Cheetahs deliver a commanding performance in their 32-18 victory over the Blue Bulls in Bloemfontein.

Head coach Naka Drotske will be happy with his team’s performance. They weren’t convincing against the Golden Lions last weekend, but they were very impressive in this triumph over the Bulls.

They delivered a great physical performance, which saw them dominate the collisions and breakdown battle for most parts of the match. Their forwards were instrumental in creating go-forward ball during general play, which was key in their two tries scored by lock Andries Ferreira and flank Kabamba Floors.

Wing Riaan Smit was also pivotal as he executed a flawless effort from the kicking tee, slotting all of his seven goal attempts (two conversions and five penalties).

The Bulls struggled early on in their opener against Griquas, before delivering a better second-half performance for a 30-25 comeback victory. The Pretoria union struggled again in the first stanza against the Cheetahs, but this time, there was no improvement as they were errant throughout the match.

The visitors found themselves on the back foot from the first minute, when Ferreira powered over after the Cheetahs poached possession in the opposition’s red zone. Smit added the extras.

The Bulls replied with a try via CJ Stander, with flyhalf Louis Fouche scoring the conversion and a penalty, but Smit continued to punish their ill-discipline with the boot. By the time Floors dived over for the last action of the opening 40, the Cheetahs held a 23-10 lead.

Smit helped seal the win in the second stanza, slotting two penalties, while replacement wing Nico Scheepers also converted a three-pointer from a difficult angle.

The Bulls scored their only points after the break via Stander, who completed his brace.