Griquas fowards blitz Cheetahs
GWK Griquas' 26-17 (half-time 10-3) Vodacom Cup victory against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs revolved around the solid all-round performance of their forwards in Kimberley on Friday.
It was the hard men from Kimberley rather than the much-vaunted Bloemfontein toughies who adapted best to the heavy rain that fell in the first half and which, even though it had lessened to occasional drizzle, still held great influence in the second half.
Griquas also found the tryline twice compared to the Free Staters' once, but that was due reward for the advantage they held up front, particularly in the set-pieces. Even though the weather conditions never made it feasible to spread the ball around, the Griquas pack laid a splendid platform and scrumhalf Jandre Blom had a field day feeding the ball to the numerous willing runners he had from close quarters.
Griquas scored the only try of the first half as, after concerted pressure, lock Hendrik Roodt was eventually the forward on hand to use his considerable bulk to crash over for the opening try.
Flyhalf Rudi Vogt kicked the conversion and a penalty, to which Free State flyhalf Louis Strydom replied with just a penalty, the Griquas' first-half game-plan revolving around a simple formula of subdue up front, then penetrate.
Vogt's tidy boot also brought him three more penalties in the second half as the rain eased, and Griquas also scored an excellent try in the 70th minute to seal the victory.
They won a lineout inside the Cheetahs half and flank and captain Wesley Wilkins went on an exceptional run that saw him burst through two tackles and then send wing Johan Herbst away for the try, which Vogt converted.
Free State were out of the match, but they did make the scoreline more respectable as centre Morgan Newman showed a fine turn of pace and scored a try in the dying moments.
Griquas' win means the Gauteng Lions will now be compelled to beat Border at Ellis Park on Saturday to finish top of the North Section and play the self-same Cheetahs in the semifinals.
GWK Griquas - Tries: Hendrik Roodt, Johan Herbst. Conversions: Rudi Vogt (2). Penalties: Vogt (4).
Toyota Free State Cheetahs - Try: Morgan Newman. Penalties: Louis Strydom (4).