The Free State Cheetahs secured a bonus-point victory to qualify for the semi-finals of the Currie Cup after beating Boland 55-10 in Wellington on Saturday.
The visitors headed into the game knowing they needed maximum points to have any chance of finishing in the top four. They employed a expansive game to secure the four tries as soon as possible, which paid off as they achieved their main objective in 33 minutes.
Both the Cheetahs and Griquas finished up level on log points, but the Free Staters' superior points differential proved vital in the final outcome.
For Boland, their thirteenth loss means they finish bottom of the Currie Cup standings with five points. They will now host the Pumas on October 24 in the first of two promotion-relegation matches before travelling to Witbank a week later for the return fixture.
The Cheetahs were clinical against the Cavaliers, scoring nine tries to one in a one-sided contest that featured outstanding individual performances by Bok flanker Heinrich Brussow, who scored a brace, and rampaging number eight Ashley Johnson, whose international aspirations were advanced on a hot afternoon.
The Cheetahs opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Brussow burrowed over from a line-out drive after the Bolanders had infringed at scrum-time. Fly-half Louis Strydom added the extra points.
The visitors then scored their second seven minutes later when excellent driving work by tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen in particular led to space out wide for centre Meyer Bosman to exploit.
The former Bok centre drew the defence before slipping a crisp pass that put winger Jongi Nokwe in at the corner unopposed.
The Cavaliers opened their account in the 19th minute when fly-half Danré Gerber kicked a penalty.
Brussow then snatched his second try in identical fashion to his first when the Boland defence disintegrated from another lineout penalty catch-and-drive after 25 minutes.
Strydom was again on target with the extra points to make it 19-3.
Cheetahs scrum-half Tewis de Bruyn then grabbed the bonus point five minutes before the break after more sustained pressure on the Boland line.
Nokwe scored his second four minutes into first-half injury time after a simple backline move but the Bok flyer looked to have done himself an injury when trying to stop himself from running into an iron fence behind the dead ball line.
After the break, the visitors ran in another five tries to overwhelm the locals, who could only respond with a single try by Gerber, which he converted himself.
With the Bulls safely in third place following their win over the Leopards on Friday night, the Cheetahs must now wait for the result of the Lions-Western Province match to see whether they travel to Cape Town or Durban for their semi-final.
Free State Cheetahs:
Tries: Brussow 2, Nokwe 2, De Bruyn, Viljoen, Jonker, Juries 2
Cons: Strydom 5
Boland: 15 Hayden Groepes, 14 Deon Scholtz, 13 Cornal Hendricks, 12 PJ Vermeulen, 11 Wendal Wehr, 10 Danré Gerber, 9 Charlie King, 8 Junior Bester, 7 Hilton Lobberts, 6 David Hendricks, 5 Rito Hlungwane (c), 4 Nico Esterhuyse, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Harry Vermaas, 1 Janro van Niekerk.
Replacements: 16 Clemen Lewis, 17 Michael de Neuilly-Rice, 18 George Earl, 19 Angelo Brinkhuys, 20 Danie van der Merwe, 21 Dewey Swartbooi, 22 Elgar Watts.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Danwel Demas, 13 Corné Uys, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Louis Strydom, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Frans Viljoen, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 David de Villiers, 4 Nico Breedt (c), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: 16 WP Nel, 17 Izak van der Westhuizen, 18 Hendro Scholtz, 19 Kabamba Floors , 20 JP Joubert, 21 JW Jonker, 22 Fabian Juries.
Referee: Joey Salmans