Prinsloo double helps Cheetahs to victory
Boom Prinsloo scored a brace of tries as the Toyota Free State Cheetahs beat the GWK Griquas 40-20 (half-time 22-6) in their Absa Currie Cup Premier Division match at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The Cheetahs were deserved winners but the match was marred by a second-half red card shown to Griquas’ Australian lock Rory Arnold for biting an opponent.
Flank Prinsloo was part of a loose trio, which also included Pieter Labuschagne and eighthman Philip van der Walt, which gave the Cheetahs the edge in the loose while their centre pairing of Robert Ebersohn and Johan Sadie also enjoyed productive games. Loosehead prop Trevor Nyakane was a constant threat with ball in hand.
The bonus-point win saw the Cheetahs move into second place on the log with 11 points, one behind leaders Western Province, although the Sharks had yet to play on the weekend and could overhaul the Cheetahs.
Both teams were full of endeavour in the first quarter but impressive defence from both teams kept the various attacking movements in check.
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Griquas right wing Nico Scheepers and his opposite number Riaan Smit traded penalties before the visitors regained the lead, in the 19th minute, through another Scheepers penalty.
But the Cheetahs’ forwards were slowly but surely starting to gain the upper-hand in the loose exchanges and the hosts finally breached the Griquas’ defence, in the 23rd minute when Prinsloo was mauled over.
The hosts were finally starting to find their rhythm and they nabbed their second try three minutes before the break when they took the ball through 10 phases before Nyakane, who had been involved in the build-up twice, provided the scoring pass for left wing Raymond Rhule to dash over from close range for a converted try.
The Cheetahs looked to be heading to the half-time break holding a nine-point lead but they grabbed one more try with the last play of the half when flyhalf Elgar Watts put in a speculative chip kick which was recovered by outside centre Sadie.
The ball made its way to inside centre Ebersohn who sportingly popped the ball to Prinsloo who went over for his second try as the home team reached the interval leading 22-6 after scoring 14 points in the last four minutes of the first half.
The Cheetahs secured the bonus-point for scoring four tries nine minutes after the restart with a wonderful team score. Ebersohn broke through the Griquas’ defensive line before Sadie carried the ball strongly. Rhule was on hand, on the right-hand side of the field, to provide support before he passed to Watts who cantered over for the try which he converted himself.
However, the Cheetahs were reduced to 14 minutes moments later when lock Teboho Mohoje was yellow-carded for a cynical tackle which prevented the Griquas from making the best of the quick tap penalty.
The visitors made almost immediate use of their numerical advantage when left wing Rocco Jansen chipped over the top from 25 metre out before outstripping the defence to chase through and score a converted try off his own kick.
The Griquas received a yellow-card of their own, in the 58th minute, when replacement forward Marnus Schoeman was sin-binned for deliberately killing the ball at a ruck.
Watts kicked the resulting penalty as the Cheetahs stretched their lead to 32-13 but the Griquas struck back once again when Arnold crashed over from close range in the 62nd minute.
There was an immediate allegation, from the Cheetahs, that Arnold had bitten an opponent after scoring the try and the TMO, after multiple views of the incident, felt that Arnold had bitten a Cheetah’s defender and Arnold received a red card for his transgression.
The Cheetahs continued to add to their points tally through another Watts penalty and a try after the hooter for replacement scrumhalf Kevin Luiters.
TOYOTA FREE STATE CHEETAHS –Tries: Boom Prinsloo (2), Raymond Rhule, Elgar Watts, Kevin Luiters; Conversions: Riaan Smit (2), Watts; Penalties: Smit, Watts (2).
GWK GRIQUAS –Tries: Rocco Jansen, Rory Arnold; Conversions: Nico Scheepers (2); Penalties: Scheepers (2).