Kimberley - Griquas produced a strong second half display to beat the Free State Cheetahs in their Currie Cup encounter here on Saturday.
The hosts won 52-24, after trailing 24-12 at half-time.
As it happened: Griquas v Free State Cheetahs
Tries from Ederies Arendse, Enver Brandt, AJ le Roux, Kyle Steyn, Zach Burger and a FP Pelser brace proved too much for the visitors, who scored through Ali Mgijima and a Carel-Jan Coetzee double.
The Free State Cheetahs started like house on fire. After prop Johan Kotze did well to effect a turnover by ripping the ball in the tackle, the ball was spread wide though the hands where Mgijima was on hand to produce a good finish in the corner as the Griquas' rush defence was exposed.
Soon afterwards, Griquas responded with a superb team try with Arendse running an excellent line to go in under the posts - the conversion levelling matters at 7-7.
For the next 10 minutes, it was the Coetzee show, with the Cheetahs outside centre bagging a brace in that period. Credit must go to his centre partner Tertius Kruger for breaking brilliantly to set up the second as the visitors took a 21-7 lead after 20 minutes.
The away side extended their lead to 17 points after a penalty by Ernst Stapelberg at the half-hour mark, before Griquas replacement lock Pelser cut the deficit to 12 shortly before half-time.
After the interval, the momentum stayed with the home side as they came storming back into the game with two tries in the opening 10 minutes to make it 21-24. First, Pelser grabbed his brace with another powerful close-range finish after a scintillating break from Brandt down the left flank.
The comeback was complete when Reinach Venter was made to pay for his sloppy pass close to his tryline as Brandt pounced to intercept and dot down for a 28-24 lead.
With a quarter of the game to go, Griquas replacement hooker AJ le Roux would crash over for his side’s fifth before a George Whitehead penalty 10 minutes later seemed to put the nail in the coffin as it meant the visitors needed to score more than two converted tries.
By the end of the match, the victory was well and truly secured as Steyn and replacement scrumhalf Burger added late tries to seal a convincing victory.
Griquas recorded their first Currie Cup win of the season at their fourth attempt, while the Free Staters have lost all five of their games.
In next weekend's action, Griquas travel to Cape Town to tackle Western Province (Saturday, September 15), while the Free State Cheetahs host the Pumas in Bloemfontein (Friday, September 14)
Tries: Ederies Arendse, FP Pelser (2), Enver Brandt, AJ le Roux, Kyle Steyn, Zak Burger
Conversions: George Whitehead (7)
Free State Cheetahs
Tries: Ali Mgijima, Carel-Jan Coetzee (2)
Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg (3)
15 AJ Coertzen, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Kyle Steyn (captain), 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Christiaan Meyer, 8 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Eital Bredenkamp, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren, 4 Wandile Putuma, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Liam Henricks
Substitutes: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 18 FP Pelser, 19 Wendal Wehr, 20 Zak Burger, 21 Stephan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Christopher Bosch
Free State Cheetahs
15 Adriaan Carelse, 14 Ali Mgijima, 13 Care-Jan Coetzee, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 Vuyani Maqina, 10 Ernst Stapelberg, 9 Rudy Paige (captain), 8 Stephan Malan, 7 Nardus Erasmus, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Louis Conradie, 4 Abongile Nonkontwana, 3 Stephan van Schalkwyk, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Johan Kotze
Substitutes: 16 Hanno Snyman, 17 Kevin Stevens, 18 Raymond Woest, 19 Luigi van Jaarsveld, 20 Jannes Snyman, 21 Dian Badenhorst, 22 Reinhardt Erwee