On-form Cheetahs sprint past Pumas at Mbombela Stadium

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Frans Steyn of the Free State Cheetahs on the run in the Currie Cup match against the Pumas at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on February 19 2022.
Frans Steyn of the Free State Cheetahs on the run in the Currie Cup match against the Pumas at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on February 19 2022.
Image: Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images

The Cheetahs have sounded a strong message of intention to go far in the 2022 Currie Cup with a hard-fought win over the Pumas at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.

The Free State outfit earned good value from their 28-17 victory where they scored three tries through Gideon van der Merwe, Clayton Blommetjies and Louis van der Westhuizen, moving to the top of the standings.

The Cheetahs have also maintained their 100% start to the season with three successive wins but coach Hawies Fourie will not be happy that they conceded more than nine penalties.

The Pumas remain second-from-bottom with three defeats and faced with a mountain to climb to revive their campaign.

Fourie had made minor tweaks to his starting line-up for the trip to Mbombela with highly-rated Daniel Kasende getting the nod at right-wing. The coach moved Springbok speedster Rosco Specman to the left wing to replace injured Enver Brandt. Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse rang wholesale changes.

The Cheetahs will go into their next match against the Lions booming with confidence and in search of fourth consecutive win.

It is back to the proverbial drawing board for the Pumas who must prepare for the visit of the Sharks in their next match.

Saturday’s game started at a good tempo as both teams managed to settle early and after five minutes the scoreboard was already tickled with two successful penalties.

The first to find the middle of the poles from the kicking tee was Eddie Fouché who put the home side in front, but the Cheetahs replied immediately through Ruan Pienaar.

The Cheetahs scored the first try after 13 minutes from the effort of Gideon van der Merwe after the visitors gained territory from a long kick by Frans Steyn.

The visitors increased their advantage to 12 points inside 20 minutes when Clayton Blommetjies was released by Specman, who benefited from a mistake by Devon Williams.

After the two tries by Van der Merwe and Blommetjies, the Cheetahs conceded two penalties and they were dully put away by Fouché, who brought the home side back into the game.

Poor discipline again proved the weak point for the Cheetahs as they conceded a penalty from a kickable position and Fouché made no mistake to reduce the gap to three points.

Five minutes after the restart, the Cheetahs pulled away with their third try by Louis van der Westhuizen after a brilliantly-taken driving maul that demolished the Pumas' defence.

The Pumas dragged themselves back into the game with their first try through Eduan Swart but Pienaar and Steyn scored penalties in the closing stages to seal an important victory away from home.


Pumas (12) 17 — Try: Eduan Swart. Penalties: Eddie Fouché (4).

Cheetahs (15) 28 — Tries: Gideon van der Merwe, Clayton Blommetjies, Louis van der Westhuizen. Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (2). Penalties: Ruan Pienaar (2), Frans Steyn (1)

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