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Free State 2016 Currie Cup Champions

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The Free State Cheetahs finished their season on a high when they claimed a deserved 36-16 win over the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup Final in Bloemfontein on Saturday, reports Planet Rugby

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The result earns the home side their first title since 2007 and also marks their 10th straight win this season.

In a tough and uncompromising encounter, played at a frenetic pace, the Cheetahs dominated from the outset and outscored their visitors by two tries to one.

Their first try was scored late in the second by Clayton Blommetjies but the Cheetahs’ victory was set up by the accurate goalkicking of their fly-half Niel Marais who contributed 21 points via seven penalties.

Both sides deserve credit for making this clash the entertaining spectacle that it was although the Bulls made far too many unforced errors and when it was within range, Marais punished them from the kicking tee.

Marais and Tian Schoeman traded early penalties but the visitors suffered a setback when Jamba Ulengo was sent to the sin-bin for slowing the ball down cynically at a breakdown deep inside the home side’s half in the seventh minute.

Marais slotted the resulting penalty and added another three-pointer from the kicking tee in the 11th minute before Schoeman reduced the deficit with his second penalty shortly afterwards.

Marais then added another penalty in the 25th minute which gave his side a 15-6 lead and the two pivots landed a penalty apiece which meant the hosts were up 18-9 at half-time.

The second-half continued in similar fashion when Marais landed his seventh penalty in the 51st minute but the game came alive 10 minutes later when Blommetjies rounded off in the left-hand corner after Sergeal Petersen laid the groundwork with a superb run in the build-up.

Fred Zeilinga, who had replaced Marais by then, added the extras and when he landed a penalty five minutes later, Free State had the game in the bag.

To their credit, the Bulls didn’t surrender and were rewarded when Piet van Zyl crossed the whitewash in the 73rd minute but the hosts would have the last laugh when Petersen rounded off a scintillating move in the right hand corner three minutes before the end.

The scorers:

For Free State Cheetahs:
Tries:
Blommetjies, Petersen
Con: Zeilinga
Pens: Marais 7, Zeilinga

For Blue Bulls:
Try:
Van Zyl
Con: Stander
Pens: Schoeman 3
Yellow Card: Ulengo

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Jeez the Cheetahs were beautiful to watch, even though they really hurt my team. Great win and congratulations. Back to the drawing board Bulls.

  2. Let’s play a game describing that game using 2 words or less.
    I’ll start.

    Helter Skelter

    Headless Chickens

    Wild passing

    Reckless offloading

    Nonexistent defense

    Unstructured

    Fast paced (I had to throw one positive in there)

    Mistake ridden

    Running crazy

  3. Interesting move by the Cheetahs throwing the ball over the line-out.

    They should have been penalized though. Referees seems fast asleep.

    19.12 PEELING OFF
    DEFINITIONS
    A lineout player ‘peels off’ when leaving the lineout to catch the ball knocked or
    passed back by a team-mate.
    (a) When: A player must not peel off until the ball has left the hands of the player throwing it
    in.
    Sanction: Free Kick on the 15-metre line, in line with the line of touch.

    Look at #5 already peeled off in this snapshot

  4. Jeez those Cheetah’s wingers was full of running! Both Pietersen and Rhule were beating defenders with almost every run they made.

    Enjoyed Cassiem’s performance as well. It is going to be interesting next year between him and Oupa in Super rugby.

  5. @Timeo:

    True, but then again it is Currie Cup rugby where you can get away with a bit of crazy rugby. Cheetahs were a bit headless at times, maybe their nerves had a lot to do with it, but one thing I do like about them, those guys look like they are really enjoying their rugby and long may it continue.

  6. Well done Vrystaat! Is Americano out celebrating or too busy organising the ticket tape parade in Bloem?

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