Experience key as Cheetahs down fresh-faced Griquas

The Toyota Cheetahs used their experience to down a very young and inexperienced Tafel Lager Griquas side 30-20 (halftime 23-3) in a Carling Currie Cup match at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday afternoon.

New Griquas coach Pieter Bergh used no less than eight debutantes for their opening match against their local rivals with Hawies Fourie being able to call on the experience of former Springbok Ruan Pienaar to captain his side as well as 67-time Bok utility back, Frans Steyn.

It was a frustrating afternoon for the visitors as their first 40 minutes was riddled with handling errors and a plethora of penalties with Pienaar landing three penalties in the first half. Griquas though turned the tables in the second stanza and produced a far-better performance, outscoring the home side 17 points to seven.

The Cheetahs scored three tries through hooker Marnus van der Merwe as well as his replacement Louis van der Westhuizen with centre David Brits adding his name to the scoresheet. Pienaar added three conversions to his three penalties for a 100% record.

Griquas, who scored the first points of the match with a penalty from flyhalf Zander du Plessis, scored two second half tries through captain Ruan Steenkamp and wing Luther Obi while Du Plessis also maintained a 100% kicking record with two penalties and two conversions.

After the sides traded early peanlties, the home side scored the first try of the match with Van der Merwe controlling well at the back of a rolling maul after the half-hour mark. Pienaar landed the conversion and a penalty to give the hosts a 13-point advantage but Brits showed some fancy footwork shortly before the break.

Fullback Clayton Blommetjies handed off to Brits, who stepped inside and out to bamboozle the defenders to score under the posts. However, Griquas thought they had scored their first try when Obi went over under the poles after some great passing but referee Jaco Peyper went upstairs with TMO Ben Crouse confirming that a pass from flanker Neil Otto to Obi was forward.

Griquas started the second period like a house on fire, putting the Cheetahs under some early pressure and scored their first try by No 8 Steenkamp after a string rolling maul. Du Plessis converted to reduce the deficit to 13 points.

The Cheetahs then had a try disallowed when wing Craig Barry went over in the corner but TMO Crouse had the last say as Barry stepped on the touchline a split-second before dotting the ball down with Obi having done just enough to push the right wing into touch.

Two minutes after Du Plessis landed his second penalty, the Cheetahs landed their third try of the game as Van der Westhuizen controlled at the back of the maul, which the Cheetahs used to good effect through the game. Van der Westhuizen’s try was converted by Pienaar to push the Cheetahs out to a 17 point lead but Griquas never gave up.

Obi would finally get his try after a wonderful and powerful break from replacement Theo Boshoff, fending off the Cheetahs defence and offloading to Obi, who managed to win the race to the line and scoring his side’s second try with Du Plessis converting.

Both sides went in search of that final scoring in the closing minutes with the Cheetahs seeking a bonus-point try while the Griquas were in search of a losing bonus-point but neither happened.

Author: Brendon

1 thought on “Experience key as Cheetahs down fresh-faced Griquas

  1. English and rugby article well received.
    Thanks for the great efforts to be so informative

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