The Cheetahs provisionally moved to the top of the Currie Cup standings thanks to a 40-20 win over the Griquas in Bloemfontein.
The Free State Cheetahs provisionally moved to the top of the Currie Cup standings thanks to a 40-20 bonus-point win over the Griquas at the Free State stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The result is the Cheetahs' first home win of the season but the post-match headlines are likely to the dominated by a biting incident in the second half.
The Cheetahs led 22-3 at the interval thanks to two tries from skipper Boom Prinsloo and another from wing Raymond Rhule although the scoreline probably wasn't a fair reflection on the Griques' effects in a closely contested first-half with the hosts touching down twice shortly before half-time.
The Griquas held a 6-3 lead early on but the Cheetahs started to play some good attacking rugby and progressed to five metres from Griquas goal line with a line-out. Flanker Prinsloo drove over from the resulting driving maul for an unconverted try.
The hosts went into half-time with the momentum on their side after Rhule scored two minutes before the break. Rhule was on the receiving end of prop Trevor Nyakane's pass under pressure and went over for a converted try. The Cheetahs had the last say of the first half with Prinsloo scoring his second five pointer of the afternoon. Riaan Smit converted to give his side a half time lead of 22-5.
The send half wasn't much better for the visitors as Cheetahs had the bonus point wrapped up with half-an-hour still to play after Elgar Watts added the finishing touch to the Cheetahs' fourth try, a well-worked team effort.
Rocco Jansen pulled try back with a great individual effort for the Griquas, who then looked to have clawed their way back into contention when Rory Arnold scored his first Currie Cup try but the Australian lock was shown a red card just moments later for biting an opponent shortly after scoring!
The momentum however remained with hosts, with Watts kicking another penalty and replacement scrum-half Kevin Luiters scoring on the final whistle.
For Free State Cheetahs:
Tries: Prinsloo 2, Rhule, Watts, Luiters
Cons: Smit 3, Watts
Pens: Smit, Watts
Yellow card: Mohoje
Tries: Jansen, Arnold
Cons: Scheepers 2
Pens: Scheepers 2
Yellow card: M. Schoeman
Red card: Arnold
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Boom Prinsloo (c), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Teboho Mohoje, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 16 Wian du Preez, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Willie du Plessis, 22 Piet Lindeque
Griquas: 15 PJ Vermeulen, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 JP Nel, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Burger Schoeman, 6 Carel Greeff, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Ryno Barnes (c), 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Matt Dobson, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Patrick O'Brien, 19 Marnus Schoeman, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Du Randt Gerber, 22 Richard Lawson.
Referee: Craig Joubert