Cape Town - The Free State Cheetahs secured a last-gasp 41-40 come-from-behind victory over the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The away side bounced back from their loss to the Griquas last
weekend while the Blue Bulls were condemned to their third defeat of the
Tries from Jasper Wiese, Francois Venter, Sergeal Petersen and a
Makazole Mapimpi hat-trick proved too much for the Blue Bulls who scored
through Dries Swanepoel, Tony Jantjies, Warrick Gelant and a Jamba
The first quarter saw little action expect for flyhalves Tony Jantjies and Ryno Eksteen exchanging penalties.
A good backline move from the Bulls resulted in Swanepoel dotting
down with Warrick Gelant providing the final assist with a well-timed
But the Cheetahs hit back immediately. A good turnover from Jasper
Wiese was made before the ball was recycled out to Francois Venter whose
long-range pass found Mapimpi. Mapimpi showed scintillating pace to
burn the Blue Bulls defence as he ran straight down the middle to cap a
brilliant individual try against the run of play.
Once again, Gelant turned provider showing silky skills with another
well-timed pass to unleash Jantjies through the gap to dot down as the
Bulls regained the lead at 15-10 in the 22nd minute.
After some persistent pressure from the Cheetahs and repeated infringements from the Bulls, Jamba Ulengo was yellow-carded.
From the resulting penalty, the Cheetahs capitalised on their
numerical advantage with a good scrum try. It was number eight Wiese who
went over at the back. Eksteen converted as the away side regained the
lead at 17-10.
Jantjies then slotted two penalties in quick succession to restore
the home side's lead to 21-17. On the stroke of half-time, the Blue
Bulls went down to 13 men with Shaun Adendorff the culprit for a
Two quickfire tries from Mapimpi and Venter shortly after the
resumption of the second half meant the Cheetahs held a 31-21 lead after
Once again, the Blue Bulls hit back despite their numerical
disadvantage to bring the deficit back within five. This time Ulengo
dotted down after some intricate passing around the fringes with Gelant
and Jantjies heavily involved.
And they regained the lead with Gelant getting the bonus-point try
and Jantjies converting. Brilliant play once again from Gelant who is a
real menace on attack. No wonder Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has
been raving about his talents.
This time the Cheetahs were punished as Pierre Schoeman was yellow-carded for not rolling away.
More misery was piled on the Cheetahs and it was mainly
self-inflicted. Trying to run the ball from their own try-line, they
were punished when Ulengo ripped the ball off Clayton Blommetjies to
claim his side's fifth. Jantjies added two from the tee as the Bulls
took a commanding 40-31 lead.
But the game continued to be topsy-turvy in nature as the Free State
Cheetahs hit back with a Sergeal Petersen try after great work from
With seconds remaining, Piet Van Zyl was sin-binned for a deliberate
knockdown becoming the third Blue Bulls player to be yellow-carded in
From the resulting penalty, the Cheetahs snatched victory from the
jaws of defeat when they went over after a powerful series of carries
from their forwards around the fringes. The ball was recycled out to the
left wing where Mapimpi was waiting to finish clinically in the corner
and silence the Loftus crowd in a thrilling finale to the match.
Tries: Swanepoel, Jantjies, Ulengo (2), Gelant
Conversions: Jantjies (3)
Penalties: Jantjies (3)
Free State Cheetahs
Tries: Mapimpi (3), Wiese, Venter, Petersen
Conversions: Eksteen (4)
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Kefentse Mahlo, 13
Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tony
Jantjies, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Nicholas de Jager, 7 Abongile Nonkontwana, 6
Shaun Adendorff, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Conraad van
Vuuren, 2 Jan-Henning Campher, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Dayan van der
Westhuizen, 18 Jano Venter, 19 Clyde Davids, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Joshua
Stander, 22 John Jackson
Free State Cheetahs
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14
Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 William Small-Smith,
11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Ryno Eksteen, 9 Zee Mkhabela, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7
Teboho Mohoje, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Armand Koster, 3
Tom Botha, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche
Substitutes: 16 Erich de Jager, 17 Joseph Dweba, 18
Dennis Visser, 19 Pierre Schoeman, 20 Juan-Philip Smith, 21 Ali Mgijima,
22 Rosko Specman