Cheetahs pleased with one foot in the door
The Free State Cheetahs are confident of keeping their place in the Currie Cup premier division, according to captain Adriaan Strauss, after they thumped the Eastern Province Kings in the first of two promotion/relegation games in Bloemfontein on Friday night.
The Cheetahs scored eight tries, romping to a 53-14 victory and leaving the Kings with a huge ask at their home ground in Port Elizabeth next week.
"The victory definitely gives us a lot of confidence for the remaining game," Strauss said.
"It's another vital week for us and we will put everything in to make 100 per cent sure we remain in the Currie Cup (top-flight)."
The home side played an attacking style of rugby from the start, trumping the visitors on attack, in the scrums and at the breakdown area.
"These eight tries could have been even more, but we put ourselves under pressure at times," Strauss said.
"We came out with the mentality to play attractive running rugby, especially in the first half.
"When we got to their side of the field, we scored the points, so all-in-all we're pretty happy."
Kings captain Wayne Stevens admitted the Cheetahs had given them a hiding and that they faced a huge challenge in the return leg.
"We got a rugby lesson against the Cheetahs," Stevens said.
"We leaked too many tries and just couldn't hold on to the ball.
"We gave away too much turnover possession and it showed on the scoreboard.
"Eight tries against us is unacceptable. We still have a mathematical chance of getting to the Currie Cup (premier division), and we will put in everything this week."
The Cheetahs broke the Kings' 16-game winning streak, but Stevens was adamant that his side, set to make their Super Rugby debut next season, could retain their unbeaten status at home as they looked to make the step up from the first division of the domestic competition.
"There is still a lot of pride on the line," Stevens said.
"We want to give something back to our home crowd."