Free State Cheetahs moved off the bottom of the Currie Cup standings on Saturday after overcoming Griquas 35-20 in Bloemfontein.
Free State Cheetahs lifted themselves off the bottom of the Currie Cup table on Saturday after beating Griquas 35-20 with a bonus-point in Bloemfontein.
The victory saw the Bloemfontein-based side climb from the basement and up to fourth position, with Griquas dropping to fifth spot.
The home side got on the scoreboard first when the pressure they heaped on Griquas led to Ross Geldenhuys' five-pointer. Winger Nico Scheepers converted to give the home side the early lead.
From the resultant kick-off it all turned a little helter-skelter with both teams squandering opportunities due to passes not going to hand.
The visitors finally got on the scoreboard in the 20th minute after fly-half Francois Brummer kicked a much-needed penalty.
A yellow card to Griquas full-back Willie le Roux for a professional foul saw the visitors one man short and the Cheetahs exploited the advantage.
Centre and captain Robert Ebersohn dotted down under the crossbar after the visitors failed to patch the holes in their defence, and Scheepers converted.
Le Roux's absence left the away side in disarray and the Cheetahs surged ahead on attack. They set up camp on Griquas' line and the immense pressure caused the visitors to infringe at the breakdown.
Scheepers kicked a penalty ten minutes before half-time to give his side a 17-3 lead.
Griquas looked down and out and not even a second penalty by Brummer to close the deficit seemed enough to lift the Kimberley-based side out of their rut. They lacked consistency on defence and earned little possession in the first 40 minutes.
They came out, however, with much more prowess and put the Cheetahs under pressure in the first five minutes of the second period. The home side's defensive structures were up to the challenge, though, and Griquas were left wanting.
A decision to kick for touch rather than goal came off for the visitors when flanker Marnus Schoeman burst over from a rolling maul. Brummer converted to bring Griquas within four points and left the Cheetahs to regroup.
The hosts put some daylight between themselves and Griquas when wing Scheepers kicked another penalty, but winger Jannie Boshoff dived over in the corner after some good attacking play by the Griquas loose forwards. Brummer converted to level the scores.
Some attractive rugby from both sides followed, but defence was air tight before Griquas again infringed and got penalised, with Scheepers kicking the penalty with ease.
Hennie Daniller then went over in the corner after the Cheetahs put together some attacking phases of play, with Scheepers again converting. But the hosts weren't done there as Raymond Rhule added the bonus as the Cheetahs picked up their first win in four games.
For Free State Cheetahs:
Tries: Geldenhuys, R Ebersohn, Daniller, Rhule
Con: Scheepers 3
Pen: Scheepers 3
Tries: Schoeman, Boshoff
Con: Brummer 2
Pen: Brummer 2
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Raymond Rhule, 12 Robert Ebersohn (c), 11 Rayno Benjamin, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Marcell van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Carl Wegner, 19 Hendro Scholtz, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Philip Snyman, 22 Andries Strauss.
Griquas: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Jannie Boshoff, 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 Walter Venter, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Wesley Wilkins, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Rynhardt Landman, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes (c), 1 Janro van Niekerk.
Replacements: 16 Matt Dobson, 17 Ivann Espag, 18 Edwin Hewitt, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 JP Nel.
Referee: Jason Jaftha