Bloemfontein - The
Free State Cheetahs retained their unbeaten status after claiming a
deserved 43-20 victory over the Blue Bulls in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
In an entertaining match, in which both sides gave the ball plenty of
air, the Cheetahs' adventurous style of play was rewarded with a
bonus-point as they outscored their visitors by six tries to two.
The win means the men from Bloemfontein are in joint first place at
the top of the table alongside the Sharks with both sides on 10 points
from two matches.
Despite failing to claim a losing bonus point, the Blue Bulls are in
joint second place with the Golden Lions and Boland although the Lions
have played a game less.
The Cheetahs made the brighter start and opened the scoring in the
third minute when their captain, Francois Venter, stepped past a couple
of defenders before crossing for the opening try which Fred Zeilinga
Three minutes later, the Bulls struck back with a penalty from Tian
Schoeman but the home side soon doubled their lead when Clayton
Blommetjies scored their second try.
The fullback had an easy run-in, after gathering an offload from
Raymond Rhule, who caused chaos inside the Bulls' 22 after joining the
Cheetahs back-line at pace.
The next 15 minutes was a war of attrition as both sides went at each
other hammer and tongs in a bid to gain the ascendancy but poor
decision making meant that neither side could add to their points tally
during this period.
The Bulls eventually broke the deadlock when Jannes Kirsten barged
over for their opening try in the 26th minute but two minutes later the
Cheetahs won a turnover inside their 22 before launching a stunning
Zeilinga offloaded to William Small-Smith who drew in a couple of
defenders before passing to Retshegofaditswe Nche on the halfway line.
The Cheetahs prop was in the clear but still had work to do and showed a
remarkable turn of speed as he outpaced the cover defence before
crashing over for his side's third try.
Zeilinga added the extras and a penalty on the stroke of half-time which meant the Cheetahs led 24-10 at the break.
The Bulls got the first points of the second half via a Schoeman
penalty in the 50th minute but they had to wait until late in the second
half for their next points as the Cheetahs dominated the rest of the
Five minutes later, Uzair Cassiem secured his side's bonus-point try
after doing well to stay in touch despite the attentions of a defender
close to the corner flag and when Small-Smith crossed for their fifth
five-pointer on the hour-mark, the writing was on the wall for the Blue
But despite trailing by more than 20 points, the men from Pretoria
continued to attack and 10 minutes before full-time Ruan Steenkamp
shrugged off three tackles before crossing for their second try which
Joshua Stander converted.
Five minutes later, the Cheetahs added the final nail in the visitors
coffin when Rayno Benjamin rounded off a superb team try in which the
ball went through several pairs of hands in the build-up.
Free State Cheetahs
Tries: F Venter, Blommetjies, Nche, Cassiem, Small-Smith, Benjamin
Conversions: Zeilinga (4), Marais
Tries: Kirsten, Steenkamp
Conversions: Schoeman, Stander
Penalties: Schoeman (2)
Free State Cheetahs
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Ryno
Benjamin, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Raymond Rhule,
10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6
Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Torsten van
Jaarsveld, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche
Replacements: 16 Jacques Du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Justin Basson, 19 Henco Venter, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Niel Marais, 22 Maphutha Dolo
15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13
Dan Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet
van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Marvin
Orie, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Entienne Swanepoel, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18
Rudolph Snyman, 19 Hanro Liebenberg, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Joshua
Stander, 22 Duncan Matthews
Referee: Lesego Legoete
Assistant referees: Archie Sehlako, Jaco Kotze
TMO: JJ Wagner