The Cheetahs scored six tries to earn themselves a home final as they blitzed the Golden Lions 55-17 in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The win means that Free State are still unbeaten in the Currie Cup with one more game to go for a perfect season and will host either the Blue Bulls or Western Province in the final. The Lions are officially dethroned as the Currie Cup title holders with the loss.
The Cheetahs put in a complete game of rugby as they dominated almost every phase of the game. They controlled the scrums with expert precision while taking charge of the open play and ran the bewildered Lions ragged.
The half-time score was indicative of the runs of events as at half time the Cheetahs were 26-0 up with the Lions largely quiet throughout.
Sergeal Petersen was in formidable form. He scored three tries through tremendous skill while also looking for work all over the field as he constantly kept his side on the front foot with some rampaging runs.
The intermittent rain seemed to have no affect on the Cheetahs' exciting game plan as their handling skills remained silky.
Free State started off the scoring with two penalties from their flyhalf Niel Marais. Cheetahs had all the possession in the first ten minutes as they dominated proceedings.
It was all the Cheetahs in the first 15 minutes as the home side scored the first try. The cheetahs spread the ball wide where form flanker Uzair Cassiem received the ball from Ox Nche. Cassiem then timed his run perfectly to give the ball off to Sergeal Petersen who dotted down.
Petersen scored his second try of the match when the Lions played the inside channels and tried to take the ball into contact and create some front foot ball to attack off but the Cheetahs made the turnover at the breakdown before they chipped the ball forward for Petersen to chase. Petersen gathered the ball just short of the try-line and dotted down for the five pointer.
Niell Jordaan extended his side's imposing lead through a try of his own. The Lions started off the second half by going with a deep kick which travelled into the Cheetahs 22 metre line. Sergeal Petersen gathered the ball from the restart and raced through the gap before the Cheetahs sent the ball down the wing with some accurate handling skills and Niell Jordaan finished the move in sublime fashion on the wing.
The Lions finally got onto the score board when they won a lineout inside the Cheetahs 22 metre line before they mauled the Cheetahs backwards and played the wide channels before Mahuza ran a good angle and crashed over for the five pointer.
Ryno Benjamin was then given a yellow card after the Cheetahs were warned for going offside on multiple occasions and Benjamin's infringement was the final straw.
The Lions scored their second try of the match as Kwagga Smith broke up field before swinging a well timed pass to send Sylvian Mahuza through for the try.
The Cheetahs responded within seconds as they countered after the restart where Ryno Benjamin was given the ball who raced through for the five pointer.
Petersen scored his third try of the game when they attacked up the midfield before seeing Petersen was open on the wing. Petersen was given the ball before burning the opposition around the outside for the five pointer.
For the Free State Cheetahs:
Tries: Petersen 3, Jordaan, Benjamin, Blommetjies
Cons: Marais 3
Pens: Marais 4
Yellow card: Benjamin
For the Golden Lions:
Tries: Mahuza 2, Lerm
Yellow card: Brink, Coetzee
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francios Venter, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten vsn Jaarsveld, 1 Tshego Nche
Replacements: 16 Jacques Du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Armandt Koster, 19 Henco Venter, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Ryno Benjamin, 23 Conraad Van Vuuren
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Koch Marx, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Fabian Booysen, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith (c), 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 Ruan Ackermann, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Ruaan Lerm, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Stokkies Hanekom, 23 Sylvian Mahuza
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge