The Cheetahs put the final touch on their preparations for this year’s Super Rugby competition with a 31-6 win over the Pumas in the two side’s pre-season encounter at Old Greys’ field in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The hosts looked especially sharp on the defensive, and their attack also looked better than was the case against the Southern Kings on their recent tour of the Eastern Cape.
Cheetahs loose forward Boom Prinsloo proved his worth, scoring two tries on the day, while the Bloemfontein-based side kept the Pumas from scoring any other points than the two penalties via the boot of JC Roos. Both came in the first half for the visitors with all their other attacks muffled by the home side.
Two tries in the first half, by flanker Jean Cook and Prinsloo, gave the Cheetahs a halftime lead of 10-6, a score coach Naka Drotske would not have been too happy with considering his team had the majority of possession.
After halftime the hosts regrouped and a much better attacking display emerged.
Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane came on from the replacement bench after Caylib Oosthuizen got the nod ahead of him in the starting line-up. With the latter, the Cheetahs struggled in the scrums, but Nyakane’s presence bolstered the hosts and even led to a penalty try for his team seven minutes from fulltime.
New Cheetahs scrumhalf Shaun Venter had a good run, but stalwart Sarel Pretorius showed in the second half he would not be easily booted out of the starting line-up.
Pretorius combined well with Springbok flyhalf Johan Goosen as the Cheetahs put together a good performance.
Cheetahs 31 (10): Tries: Jean Cook, Boom Prinsloo (2), Penalty Try. Conversions: Johan Goosen (3), Elgar Watts.
Pumas 6 (6): Penalties: JC Roos (2).